"Bigger insurance companies mean increased leverage and unfair power over negotiating rates with hospitals and physicians," the organization continued. "More often than not, consolidation increases costs and reduces options for consumers and we believe this would hold true in the health insurance market."
Dave Jones, California's top insurance regulator, echoed these warnings in an interview this week with the L.A. Times: "Generally speaking, further consolidation in the health insurance industry is not a good thing for consumers, employers or medical providers. It means the potential for future price increases as a result of less competition."
A report (pdf) released last year by the Commonwealth Fund finds that the U.S. health care system is already the most expensive in the world yet delivers the worse care among 11 industrialized nations. Many are calling for a universal, publicly-funded health care system to replace the for-profit model behind this dismal performance.