End the duopoly

FTC urges Texas regulators to block merger under COPA


Dive Brief:

The Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to Texas regulators urging they deny Hendrick Health System’s request to acquire its only other competitor in rural West Texas.

The deal would normally never clear antitrust hurdles, but state lawmakers ushered in a law last year that immunizes such deals from federal oversight in exchange for state oversight, including rate review.

FTC was blistering in its comments about the potential tie-up, warning regulators it would result in serious competitive and consumer harm in the form of higher prices, lower quality and diminished access to care and innovation — plus depressed wage growth for nurses. Rate review would not mitigate the harms this acquisition would inflict, FTC argued in the letter dated Friday.

Dive Insight:

The FTC has taken aim at COPAs — certificates of public advantage — that eschew federal intervention in recent years as states have turned to them to seemingly address some unmet healthcare need or the threat of closures, particularly in rural communities.Behind these COPAs is the belief that allowing otherwise anticompetitive deals to proceed is worth it to avoid those pitfalls.However, FTC is staunchly opposed to such arrangements that shield these deals from its oversight, […]

read more here —> www.healthcaredive.com

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