Aligning health care market incentives in an information age: The role of antitrust law

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Health and Biomedical Law


Volume 5

Inclusive Pages



Legal; Antitrust Issues


On May 11, 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new antitrust enforcement policy that promises increased anti-trust scrutiny for many industries, including health care, a reversal of the previous administration's approach, which strongly favored businesses against anti-trust claims. Of particular concern in the health care sector has been the increasing consolidation of insurers, as well as hospital and health system mergers that produce market-dominant health care players impervious to price and price collusion. At the same time, certain forms of collaboration among competitors are foundational to advancing overarching health system goals, particularly system-wide improvements in the quality and efficiency of health care within the local geographic markets in which Americans receive most of their care. Altering the way in which physicians, hospitals, and other health care suppliers relate to one another in these markets is essential to improving the quality of care, as numerous commentators have pointed out.

It is our thesis that even as the Obama Administration moves more strongly to foster competition, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice (the "agencies") should simultaneously look for ways to clarify those situations that, consistent with the Statements of Antitrust Enforcement Policy in Health Care ("Statements"), do not raise the specter of anticompetitive conduct, particularly with respect to cross-competitor health care collaborations that can foster both greater levels of transparency about health care cost and quality as well as greater levels of clinical integration among providers.


This is an open access article. Click on link for full-text access.

Open Access