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District Court Blocks FTC and PA AG Challenge to Hershey-Pinnacle Merger

On May 9, 2016, the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied the motion by the Federal Trade Commission and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the merger of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System. The decision ends a string of victories by the FTC in recent health care merger litigation. Read the full article.

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ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting Highlight: “Antitrust & Health Care: Square Peg in a Round Hole?”

In this month’s American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, the program “Antitrust & Health Care: Square Peg in a Round Hole?” featured debate and discussion about antitrust law treatment of health care transactions and how that treatment might (or should) evolve (via regulation, legislation, or some combination of approaches), or conversely, whether the intersection of antitrust law and health care is more akin to a square peg meeting a round hole.  Moderated by Jim Donahue (Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General), the panel’s speakers included Robert Berenson, MD (The Urban Institute), Alexis Gilman (the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)), Melinda Hatton (American Hospital Association (AHA)) and Elinor Hoffmann (Office of the New York Attorney General (AG)). Horizontal Mergers The program first considered a hypothetical merger of specialty physician practices, where the acquiring practice has privileges at one of the...

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Perspectives from the Federal Antitrust Enforcement Agencies

At the recent Antitrust in Health Care conference in Arlington, Virginia, representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division discussed important health care and antitrust topics.  Speakers stressed that the Affordable Care Act is not an opportunity for anticompetitive consolidation and conduct.  Providers and payers alike should continue to analyze every acquisition, collaborative arrangement, contract or unilateral action under the traditional framework of antitrust law. Please click here to read the full article.

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ACOs and Antitrust Are Aligned and Compatible, Says Commissioner Brill

by Carrie G. Amezcua FTC Commissioner Julie Brill addressed attendees at the 2013 National Summit on Provider Market Power on June 11.  The focus of her remarks were on the intersection of antitrust, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).  She first touched on the ACA.  Noting the empirical evidence shows that high concentration among health care providers has harmful competitive effects, she was optimistic that the exchanges that will be established as a result of the ACA will offer consumers a range of competing, affordable health care products and will encourage greater competition in local insurance markets.  Turning to ACOs and antitrust, she stated that the FTC is starting to hear providers contend that the ACO program is a justification for their (alleged) anticompetitive activity.  Providers complain that the government is "talking out of both sides of their mouth" with Centers for...

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