Lawmakers largely oppose PA Blues merger

Pennsylvania commissioner Joel Ario gets to make the final decision on the proposed merger between Independence Blue Cross and Highmark Inc.--but the state's lawmakers are not shying away from giving their honest opinions about it. As Ario thinks over his decision, he's getting hammered over the issues involved.

The overwhelming consensus among state legislators is that he should reject the merger outright. Many are concerned that creating what will be the largest insurer in the state will eliminate competition and force doctors and hospitals to accept low fees because of an inability to negotiate.

Ario's decision cannot come until January 27 at the earliest, giving legislators--and the two Blue plans, of course--a chance to keep chiming in with their opinions before he releases his decision.

To learn more about the objections to the proposed merger:                   
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece