FTC Chair Muris Pledges ‘Vigilance’ Against Antitrust Violations in Health Care Industry
Federal Trade Commission Chair Timothy Muris today is expected to "vo[w] continued vigilance" against antitrust violations in the health care industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. In the text of a speech Muris will give to a group of business executives and lawyers in Chicago, Muris says his agency "continues to see a wide variety of overt anticompetitive behavior in health care, along with some new variants." In the past year, the Journal reports, the FTC has reached settlements with five physician groups, including an organization of 1,200 physicians in Texas, for allegedly "colluding to raise consumer costs." In September, the FTC established a "special task force" to investigate completed hospital mergers for evidence of "anticompetitive tactics." Since then, the agency has begun investigations into Santa Barbara-based Tenet Healthcare for the merger of two Missouri hospitals and Chicago area-based Evanston Northwestern Healthcare for its consolidation with another hospital in early 2000. Muris said some of the activities are "naked price-fixing, plain and simple" (Wysocki, Wall Street Journal, 11/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.