AG Shapiro Leads Bipartisan Coalition of 26 AGs To Address Impact of Anticompetitive Hospital Merger on Consumers

November 8, 2021 | Topic: Consumers

HARRISBURG–Today, Attorney General Josh Shapiro led a bipartisan coalition of 26 attorneys general in urging the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court’s decision that temporarily stopped a merger of hospitals in New Jersey that would have reduced competition between the hospitals and resulted in anticompetitive effects on the community.

“We know from our experiences here in Pennsylvania that it is critical for people to have good-quality, affordable healthcare choices in their own communities,” said AG Shapiro. “Ensuring that there is strong competition in the healthcare system helps keep prices down and still provides patients with quality care.”

The brief states that the merger at the center of this case, Federal Trade Commission v. Hackensack Memorial Hospital and Englewood Healthcare Foundation, is part of a trend. States have a strong interest in ensuring the availability of affordable and accessible quality healthcare, especially in rural communities, for their citizens. This interest is best served by protecting vibrant competition in local healthcare markets. States have experienced a wave of consolidation in healthcare that has resulted in higher prices without any substantial improvements in quality for consumers.

The brief points out the importance in preserving local access to healthcare services for consumers. It asserts the lower court correctly and properly analyzed the merger under the antitrust laws and applied the right economic models. It also emphasizes that the lower court’s decision is consistent with the Third Circuit’s decision in FTC v. Penn State Hershey Medical Center, which applied the same economic model and determined the merger of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Pinnacle Health was unlawful under the antitrust laws. The Third Circuit remanded that matter back to the district court to grant a preliminary injunction requested by the FTC and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

Joining today’s brief, led by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and California Attorney General Rob Bonta, are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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