In a letter to Oregon State Senator Chip Shields, Federal Trade Commission staff expressed concern that a broad antitrust exemption proposed in Oregon Senate Bill 231A for health care collaborations is unnecessary because antitrust law already permits such efforts that benefit consumers.
While staff commended the underlying goal of the bill – to study and improve the delivery of primary care services to Oregon health care consumers, and to promote new collaborations among Oregon health care providers, payers, and other industry participants – the letter maintains that the broad purported antitrust exemption in Senate Bill 231A is based on misunderstandings about application of the antitrust laws to such endeavors.
“Because procompetitive health care collaborations already are permissible under the antitrust laws, the main effect of SB 231A would be to immunize joint conduct that likely would restrain competition without generating countervailing efficiencies, and consequently would not pass muster under the antitrust laws,” the letter states. “Therefore, FTC staff respectfully suggests that the proposed Bill is likely to lead to increased health care costs and decreased access to health care services for Oregon consumers.”
The Commission vote to issue the staff comments was 5-0. (FTC File No. V150007; the staff contacts are Danica Noble, Northwest Regional Office, 206-220-5006, and Stephanie Wilkinson, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2084).
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