Sebelius: PPACA, Antitrust Law in "Constant Tension"

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said yesterday that certain aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are in "constant tension" with antitrust laws, according to a Thomson Reuters report.

During a speaking engagement at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Ms. Sebelius said there is a "tight balance between a coordinated care strategy and a monopoly," according to the report.

The PPACA encourages collaboration, coordination and integration among healthcare providers to lower costs and increase efficiency in healthcare delivery. Even though the government is promoting those values, they can come close to conflicting with the Federal Trade Commission's initiative to promote competition and bar monopolies.

Ms. Sebelius said that "constant oversight is really appropriate" from federal agencies to ensure providers' integration efforts do not undermine price control. She also said small communities that have a small number of providers are of heightened concern, as consolidation in such areas can boost prices "astronomically," according to the report.

The FTC has been an increasingly visible regulatory force in healthcare transactions. In the past year, it has challenged a range of deals involving hospitals and other provider groups. Here are summaries and legal analysis of five recent FTC actions in healthcare.

More Articles on Hospitals and the FTC:

5 FTC Challenges to Hospital Mergers: Key Concepts for Today's Antitrust Environment
St. Luke's CEO Dr. David Pate Responds to FTC Antitrust Complaint
CEO, 3 Other Executives Resign From Renown Health After Legal Probe

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