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UnitedHealth Group, Sierra Health Services deal challenged

AP/San Francisco Chronicle, May 16, 2008

A big union, national, state and local medical groups, a government official and a U.S. House panel have filed documents in Washington, DC, in efforts to block the $2.6 billion purchase of Las Vegas-based Sierra Health Services Inc. by Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. Those opposing the deal include Service Employees International Union Nevada, which represents thousands of healthcare workers in Nevada, the American Medical Association, Nevada State Medical Association and Clark County Medical Association. The Justice Department has said it will allow UnitedHealth to go forward with the purchase if the companies divest assets related to UnitedHealth's Las Vegas Medicare Advantage. Opponents say the deal would enable UnitedHealth to acquire a 90 percent share of the health maintenance organization market, and that the Justice Department "dropped the ball" in letting the acquisition go forward.