The 9 scariest words in the English language, per FTC's chairwoman

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan told physicians that some of the challenges they and their patients face today "have their origins in policy choices made decades ago, when we shifted away from a deep commitment to maintaining open, competitive markets in favor of accepting more consolidation across the economy."

Speaking Feb. 14 at the American Medical Association national advocacy conference, Ms. Khan said "that turn away from the vigorous enforcement of America's antitrust laws was part of a broader ideological shift, perhaps best captured by President Reagan's famous assertion that 'the nine most terrifying words in the English language are 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.'"

"Nearly 40 years on from that famous quip, I might offer a slight revision," she said. "For many Americans, and perhaps many of you, the nine most terrifying words in the English language may be 'I'm from your insurer, and I need prior authorization.'" 

Ms. Khan said healthcare is a key part of the FTC's efforts to boost competition across the economy. She said there are five key pillars to that work:

  • Scrutinizing "opaque middlemen across the healthcare supply chain" 
  • Tackling unlawful consolidation and rollups
  • Ensuring antitrust enforcement protects all Americans, including workers 
  • Tackling unlawful practices by pharmaceutical companies 
  • Safeguarding sensitive health information 


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