Cahill urges state to reconsider CVS-Aetna merger

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, the Kingston Democrat who leads the Assembly Insurance Committee, is urging state officials to reconsider their conditional approval of CVS-Health’s purchase of Aetna until the agreement is strengthened to protect customers and independent pharmacies.

In a letter last month to Maria Vulla, the state superintendent of financial services, Cahill suggested a litany of changes and additions, including longer reporting requirements for CVS and Aetna on their activity after the merger, and regular audits to make sure they don’t misuse confidential patient data.

“I am concerned that the agreement, as written, contains several deficiencies and fails to address specific concerns that were raised by numerous advocates and members of the Legislature, including myself,” Cahill wrote.  “This transaction will irrevocably alter the health care delivery system in the State and proper guardrails must be enacted to protect the best interests of the public.”

One specific concern Cahill had was “physical network adequacy.”

“Patients must have the ability to go to their local pharmacy, speak to their pharmacist and ask questions,” he said. “It is simply not enough for Aetna to say it provides sufficient pharmacy access because it offers direct-to-home mail order.  Detailed standards assuring, not just promising, reasonable access for every subscriber is essential.”

He concluded by by urging Vulla to “take all necessary steps to install necessary safeguards and to secure additional commitments from CVS and Aetna that will address the current deficiencies in the agreement.  Authorizing a conglomerate of this magnitude without these important measures will undoubtedly adversely impact health care delivery in New York State.”

 

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