Healthcare Mergers and Acquisitions in an Era of Consolidation: A Review and a Call for Agency Collaboration in Antitrust Enforcement

Healthcare Mergers and Acquisitions in an Era of Consolidation: A Review and a Call for Agency Collaboration in Antitrust Enforcement

Comment by: Anna Molinari

45 PEPP. L. REV. 405 (2018)

Healthcare companies are consolidating at an alarming rate. From hospitals, to providers’ offices, to insurance companies, there are increasingly fewer consumer choices and more monopolies, which calls for heightened antitrust enforcement. Interestingly, antitrust enforcement authority in the healthcare industry is shared between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which presides over hospital and provider mergers, and the Department of Justice (DOJ), which presides over health insurance mergers. Although the FTC has challenged many hospital and provider mergers, the DOJ has only challenged six health insurance mergers. Furthermore, last year, the DOJ ultimately approved all health insurance mergers. In 2017, in United States v. Anthem, Inc. and United States v. Aetna, Inc., the DOJ pursued and obtained injunctions against two health insurance mergers, thereby signaling a shift in antitrust enforcement.

This Comment presents a historical overview of healthcare mergers, specifically examining health insurance merger case law. In addition, this Comment analyzes the recent Anthem and Aetna mergers and suggests why the courts made the unprecedented decision to enjoin those mergers. This Comment also assesses the future of health insurance mergers and asks whether we have reached the end of large health insurance company mergers. Finally, this Comment concludes by calling for the FTC and the DOJ to forge an effective and collaborative relationship, whereby the agencies collectively examine the antitrust concerns of healthcare mergers and discuss how these mergers will affect the industry as a whole.

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