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FTC urges states to avoid adopting laws that shield hospitals from antitrust oversight

The Federal Trade Commission highlighted the pitfalls of using Certificates of Public Advantage in a new policy paper and fact sheet.

COPAs purport to shield hospital managers from antitrust laws in favor of state oversight. But, according to the policy paper, most COPAs resulted in a single-hospital monopoly and concentrated healthcare markets, leading to increased costs and reduced quality. 

FTC Director of Policy Planning Elizabeth Wilkins, said in an Aug. 15 news release that the agency is not aware of any proven benefits, despite claims that COPAs lower costs and improve population health. 

"We urge state lawmakers to consult local health insurers, employers, and workers regarding the potential impact of COPA legislation," Ms. Wilkins said.

In stark contrast, the policy paper indicates that competition among health systems results in the most significant price constraints and quality benefits for patients, in addition to optimal employee wages and benefits. 

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