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Insurance giant Aetna’s announcement this week that it would sharply curb its participation in the insurance exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act was seen by some as payback to the Obama administration for blocking its proposed merger with Humana. After all, in April, Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini had called selling insurance in the exchanges “a good investment.”

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement Tuesday saying he was “troubled by reports this announcement could be in retaliation” to the Justice Department’s decision. Earlier this month, after Aetna announced in an earnings call this month that it was reevaluating its participation in the exchanges, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote on Facebook: “The health of the American people should not be used as bargaining chips to force the government to bend to one giant company’s will.”

Now, a letter obtained by the Huffington Post through a Freedom of Information Act shows that the company’s chief executive clearly explained to Justice Department officials in early July that if the merger were to be challenged or blocked, “we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses.”

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