Chicago, Illinois - Steven J. Stack, MD President, American Medical Association:

"The prospect of the Aetna-Humana acquisition in Missouri received a bone-crushing defeat when state regulators today issued an order preventing the companies from doing any post-merger business in Missouri's Medicare Advantage markets and some commercial insurance markets.

"The AMA strongly applauds Missouri regulators for taking the right approach to prevent the proposed acquisition of Humana by rival Aetna from creating anticompetitive market power that would have threatened Missouri's health care delivery system. The Missouri order strongly validates concerns that AMA has expressed to Missouri regulators, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, and officials in other states impacted by the proposed health insurer mergers.

"Missouri regulators took the notable step of recognizing Medicare Advantage as a relevant product market, bucking opposing pressure from Aetna. In Missouri, the merger would have substantially compromised competition in the state's Medicare Advantage markets with negative consequences for elderly patients in the need for health care access, quality and affordability. According to a recent AMA analysis of Medicare Advantage markets, Missouri was expected to be among the states where the Aetna-Humana deal would be presumed to be anticompetitive."