Sen. Grassley asks FTC to probe hospitals' contracts with payers

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission Oct. 10 asking the agency to investigate contracts between hospital systems and insurers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

He asked the FTC to examine whether contracts between health systems and payers are limiting competition and causing healthcare costs to rise. He cited a recent article in The Wall Street Journal that documented secret contract terms barring health insurers from excluding market-dominant providers from their network and prohibiting insurers from steering patients toward less-expensive rivals.

These practices would "undermine Congress's efforts to lower the cost of, and increase access to, healthcare for millions across the country," states Mr. Grassley's letter.

He asked the FTC to investigate whether there is an anticompetitive use of these types of contract provisions and how prevalent the use of such provisions is in the healthcare industry.

The FTC confirmed it had received the letter from Mr. Grassley. "We take letters from members of Congress very seriously, but we have no further comment," the FTC told The Wall Street Journal.

Access the full Wall Street Journal article here.

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