FTC, DOJ ask for public participation in antitrust ‘reform’

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department announced Tuesday that federal antitrust agencies have asked for advice on how to strengthen merger oversight.

Regulatory ‘reform’ will address issues such as how the market is defined in consolidation analysis to account for unrelated consequences, the breadth of oversight, the separation of vertical and horizontal guidelines, the assumption that vertical consolidation is beneficial, and the consolidation of worker-specific impacts.Horizontal and Vertical Merging Guidelines need to be updated Healthcare experts said to reflect the latest trading trends and market imbalances.

“There is evidence that many Americans have failed historically, with diminished opportunities, rising prices, lower wages and lagging innovation. Lack of competition also appears to make our economic sectors more vulnerable, as consolidating supply and reducing investment in capacity can render our Less elastic in the face of shock,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement. Prepared remarks.

Biden administration vows to stop proposed merger This would hinder competition in part by increasing the FTC and DOJ budgets, adjusting the criteria for allowing mergers, prohibiting the use of non-compete provisions, and supporting retrospective merger analysis.

The FTC has asked several major insurers to provide data on doctors employed by hospitals because Healthcare industry continues vertical integration. It is also reformulating its guidance on vertical mergers, which is expected to strengthen an area of ??enforcement that regulators have historically had limited success.

About 90% of the acute care market in metropolitan areas is highly concentrated, lawmakers say, noting that many hospitals accumulate market power through small transactions that bypass regulatory scrutiny. Most hospitals incorporate increased prices and stunt quality, Research show.

But with fewer horizontal targets, insurers, suppliers, pharmacy Continue to join forces with other stakeholders. Regulators have struggled to keep up, experts say.

Guidelines for bifurcation of horizontal and vertical analysis can limit regulation, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter a statement.

“Does the framework of horizontal vs. vertical analysis itself narrow us down to a two-dimensional view of modern markets, which are often multi-dimensional? How should the guidelines take into account these market realities,” he said. “The antitrust division shares the same substantive concerns as the FTC’s guidance on vertical mergers, which exaggerates the potential efficiencies of vertical mergers and fails to establish important relevant theories of harm.”

Regulators need more information on the impact of consolidation on the labor market, Khan said. Health system integration lowers wages, 2019 working papers suggestion.

According to their analysis of 84 hospital consolidations since 2000, in the concentrated acute care market (social workers, claims adjusters, insurance personnel, HR professionals), skilled non-health professionals (social workers, claims adjusters) , insurance workers, HR professionals) slowed by 1.1 percentage points and nursing and pharmacy workers by 1.7 percentage points until 2010.

“Should the guidance take into account factors other than wages, salaries and financial compensation when determining anticompetitive effects? When the merger is expected to save costs through layoffs or reduced capacity, should the guidance treat the elimination of such jobs or capacity as for recognizable ‘efficiency,'” Khan said in a statement.

The comment period will end on March 21. The regulator will publish updated draft guidance, which it aims to complete by the end of the year.

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