Nearly one year after agreeing to merge in a bid to reinvent healthcare for Americans, CVS Health and Aetna sealed the deal on Wednesday, bringing together one of the nation’s largest pharmacy chains and one of the largest health insurers.
Their goal? The lofty aspiration of transforming healthcare delivery for the better. But the jury is still out on whether they’ll accomplish that or leave employers and patients on the hook for higher healthcare costs.
“Today marks the start of a new day in health care and a transformative moment for our company and our industry,” CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo said in the announcement. “By delivering the combined capabilities of our two leading organizations, we will transform the consumer health experience and build healthier communities through a new innovative health care model that is local, easier to use, less expensive and puts consumers at the center of their care.”
The $70 billion merger scored approval from U.S. Justice Department antitrust enforcers and insurance regulators in 28 states, despite warnings from provider groups, patient advocates, economists and antitrust experts that the combination could harm competition and patients. On Monday, New York regulators became the last to sign off on the deal with conditions. Aetna will be a standalone unit within CVS and led by members of its current management team. Mark Bertolini will resign as Aetna CEO but will have a seat on CVS’ board of directors.
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