The judge overseeing two U.S. cases challenging mergers among four of the biggest health insurers gave up one, improving the odds for rulings on both tie-ups by the end of the year and reducing the chance they fall apart beforehand.
U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington said Friday he would keep the case against Aetna Inc.’s deal for Humana Inc., leaving the challenge to Anthem Inc.’s takeover of Cigna Corp. to another judge. Bates kept the Aetna case because it’s on a tighter deadline with its merger agreement expiring at the end of the year.
“Given the complexity and importance of these cases, the court cannot feasibly try and decide both in that time frame,” the judge wrote in a ruling. “Ultimately, it will be fairer to the parties and better for the public if one of the cases is randomly reassigned to another judge in this district, who can give it prompt and full attention while this judge does the same with the other.”