In a letter to the New York State Department of Health, Federal Trade Commission staff expressed concern that the New York State’s Certificate of Public Advantage regulations – which purport to provide antitrust immunity to certain approved health care collaboratives – are unnecessary because antitrust law already permits health care collaborations that benefit consumers.
“We write to express strong concerns that the COPA regulations, as well as the underlying authorizing legislation, are based on inaccurate premises about the antitrust laws and the value of competition among health care providers,” the letter states.
Because procompetitive collaborations already are permissible under the antitrust laws, the main effect of the COPA regulations is to immunize conduct that would not generate efficiencies and therefore would not pass muster under the antitrust laws, the letter states. Allowing certain health care collaboratives to obtain COPA approval is likely to lead to increased health care costs and decreased access to health care services for New York consumers, according to the FTC staff.
The Commission vote to issue the staff comments was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen recused. (FTC File No. V150005; the staff contact is Stephanie Wilkinson, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2084).
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