American Hospital Association wants tougher reviews of health-plan mergers

The American Hospital Association--and the AMA, for that matter--isn't too happy with the rate of health plan mergers taking place in the country in recent years. Fighting such mergers hasn't been easy, however, as they have a lot of momentum behind them; after all, insurance is inherently a game that works better the more capital you can pull together.

However, Lord knows the AHA hasn't given up. Its most recent salvo came this week, when it sent the Department of Justice a 37-page argument demanding much tougher antitrust scrutiny of such merger.

The group wants the DoJ's Antitrust Division to look backward and review past merger, hold public hearings designed to scrutinize the lack of competition among health plans, and perhaps most importantly, update the analytical approach used for reviewing mergers and merger complaints.

As of yet, it's hard to tell just how much impact the letter will have, but it does seem that the department was headed for tougher standards, anyway. Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, the DoJ's top antitrust official, has already suggested that she intends to be more aggressive in enforcing antitrust laws across all industries.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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