Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, on the proposed mergers between Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp and between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc, called them “game-changers” and added that it was necessary for Government to interfere with the mergers
to make sure we aren’t making a mistake in which shareholders benefit and the consumers pay the cost.
It’s certainly true that consumers should be protected from fraudulent behaviors and from price gouging. However, it is those consumers who, as customers, pay for the goods and services companies provide—which ultimately pays those shareholders, too—else the companies don’t survive, and the consumer/customer has no good or service available to buy.
And that’s true whether consumers operate in a free market or in a corporate fascist or any other socialist market. Consumers either pay directly, based on their own choice (including their choice not to buy at all), or every consumer pays (with no choice at all) for the one, in the form of taxes which government uses to prop up the companies it’s found suitable to exist.
In a free market, too, the company’s owners should be the ones who benefit; indeed, our laws recognize that: a company’s managers owe their fiduciary duty to their employers—those shareholders.
But with this administration, Government Knows Better.