FTC wants $70M budget increase to tackle healthcare challenges

The Federal Trade Commission has requested a budget of $590 million for 2024 — an increase of $160 million from 2022 — $70 million of which will go towards supporting the agency addressing healthcare merger challenges, rulemaking and investigations.

The $70 million would help hire more than 300 full-time staffers as the FTC, under the leadership of chair Lina Khan, looks to ramp up antitrust enforcement against health system mergers and acquisitions. 

Overall, the $160 million in extra funds would be used to increase staffing levels, cover the increased costs of operations and provide employee pay bumps, according to the report. 

"Substantial merger activity and signs of market concentration and related competition concerns have dramatically increased the pressure on staffing resources in recent years," the FTC said in its budget request. 

The FTC recently filed administrative complaints and authorized staff to seek preliminary injunctions against three health systems mergers: Providence-R.I.-based Lifespan and Care New England Health System; Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and Dallas-based Steward Health Care System; and New Brunswick, NJ.-based Saint Peter's Healthcare System and West Orange,N.J.-based RWJBarnabas Health. 

In all three cases, the health systems abandoned their proposed acquisitions shortly after the FTC issued its complaint, according to the report. 

Click here for more information on the FTC budget request.

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