AHA Urges Supreme Court to Reject FTC's Challenge to Phoebe Putney Deal

The American Hospital Association has written a friend-of-court brief urging the Supreme Court to reject the Federal Trade Commission's challenge to Phoebe Putney Health System's proposed acquisition of Palmyra Park Hospital in Albany, Ga.

The AHA co-authored the brief with the Georgia Hospital Association, seeking to "ensure that the state-action doctrine is applied in a manner that does not impede the valuable work of America's public hospitals." The AHA also noted its general interest in "how antitrust laws are applied to hospital mergers, which often foster, rather than diminish competition and in many cases are necessary for hospitals to deliver care effectively."

The FTC is claiming Phoebe Putney structured the acquisition in a manner that attempts to shield it from federal antitrust scrutiny under the "state action" doctrine, which provides an antitrust exemption for certain government actions.

The AHA and GHA wrote "it is clear that the Eleventh Circuit properly applied the state-action doctrine in this case. The FTC's contrary view, by contrast, is simply irreconcilable with that [plain-statement] rule," according to the brief. The plain-statement rule requires Congress to state clearly its intent when creating laws that may interfere with state government functions.

The AHA and GHA also say the "FTC essentially suggests that local governments will be out to harm consumers, a view conflicting with the presumption that those governments (like the states that created them) 'act in the public interest,'" according to the brief.

More Articles on Phoebe Putney and the FTC:

Phoebe Putney's Supreme Court Brief: Palmyra Acquisition Was an Act of the State
FTC Urges Supreme Court to Strike Previous Rulings in Phoebe Putney Case
Phoebe Putney Health System Plans New Women's and Children's Hospital

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