Two years of hearings into healthcare competition conducted by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division have boiled down to a jolting recommendation: abolish certificate-of-need laws. The report released today, Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition, also recommends eliminating other barriers to competition and seemed to support the growth of specialty hospitals, pay-for-performance incentives and expanded state licensing boards as ways to increase quality and lower healthcare costs. The agencies reiterated their opposition to collective bargaining by independent physicians and provided a roadmap for state and federal legislators to increase competition in healthcare to lower costs and improve quality. More than 6,000 pages of transcripts over 27 days of hearings that began in 2002 were culled to produce the 361-page report. The report does not reveal any new agency positions, but it emphasizes the agencies' support of competition, provides an overview of a complex and highly regulated industry and explores the impact of regulation on competition. -- by Mark Taylor
FTC/Justice panel: Abolish CON laws
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