RELEASE: Policymakers and Antitrust Regulators Must Rein In Provider Consolidation That Is Driving Up Health Costs

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new report looking at how provider consolidation is leading to overly concentrated markets in America’s health care system, driving up costs for consumers.

As mergers and acquisitions among hospitals and physician practices are on the rise, it is important for policymakers and antitrust authorities to regulate market power and address the harms of monopolization in America’s health care system, including:

  • Strengthening enforcement by antirust agencies by subjecting horizontal mergers to greater scrutiny, boosting the Federal Trade Commission’s resources to review mergers, monitor conduct, and challenge anti-competitive behavior, as well as by updating standards for vertical merger review
  • Boosting competition among providers by requiring greater transparency for prices, quality, and utilization; declaring anti-competitive contract clauses illegal; making provider payments site-neutral; and repealing laws that unnecessarily restrict the supply of health care providers
  • Bringing down prices in already concentrated markets by establishing a patient ombudsman for health care costs and access; capping the prices providers can charge; and equalizing prices among payers and across providers

“Hospitals and physician practices are increasingly likely to belong to dominant, multiprovider health systems, which often charge higher prices without improving the quality of patient care,” said Emily Gee, health economist of Health Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “While transparency and choice can be helpful, the current situation stunts competition and demands stronger antitrust enforcement and policies to directly address health care prices.”

Please click here to read: “Provider Consolidation Drives Up Health Care Costs: Policy Recommendations to Curb Abuses of Market Power and Protect Patients” by Emily Gee and Ethan Gurwitz

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at cseeberger@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6292.