This week, we include an update on the Anthem-Cigna merger and a summary on the implications of repealing the Affordable Care Act for Medicare spending and beneficiaries from Kaiser Family Foundation.

Anthem-Cigna merger awaits ruling from judge | Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2016

The first phase of the Justice Department‘s lawsuit to halt Anthem’s planned takeover of rival insurer Cigna is in the hands of a federal judge after the government wrapped up its arguments Tuesday that the deal would harm competition in the national insurance market.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington will issue her decision on whether the combination of the companies risks higher costs for large employers nationwide and should be blocked. She didn’t say when she would rule.

Read the full article on the Chicago Tribune here.

What are the Implications of Repealing the Affordable Care Act for Medicare Spending and Beneficiaries? | Kaiser Family Foundation, December 13, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary-nominee and current House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, and many other Republicans in Congress have proposed to repeal and replace the ACA, but lawmakers have taken different approaches to the ACA’s Medicare provisions. For example, the House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2017, introduced by Chairman Price in March 2016, proposed a full repeal of the ACA. The House Republican plan, “A Better Way,” introduced by Speaker Ryan in June 2016, proposed to repeal some, but not all, of the ACA’s Medicare provisions.

This brief explores the implications for Medicare and beneficiaries of repealing Medicare provisions in the ACA. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that full repeal of the ACA would increase Medicare spending by $802 billion from 2016 to 2025.1 Full repeal would increase spending primarily by restoring higher payments to health care providers and Medicare Advantage plans. The increase in Medicare spending would likely lead to higher Medicare premiums, deductibles, and cost sharing for beneficiaries, and accelerate the insolvency of the Medicare Part A trust fund. Policymakers will confront decisions about the Medicare provisions in the ACA in their efforts to repeal and replace the law.

Read the full brief on here.

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