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Federal appeals court grills Anthem on Cigna deal

A federal appeals court panel asked questions of Anthem Inc. for about two hours during a session that was supposed to last for 40 minutes as the insurer tried to save its proposed $48 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp., The Wall Street Journal reported.

Anthem argued that the trial judge who blocked its merger with Cigna ignored the medical cost savings that would result from the deal. The panel said the cost savings would be at the expense of doctors and hospitals who will get lower reimbursement rates, according to the report.

Judge Patricia Millett and Judge Judith Rogers said the court owed deference to the findings of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson who ruled against the merger. The Justice Department said the merger would reduce innovation and product quality even if it results in some cost savings.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is expected to give its decision in the coming weeks.