The trade group for U.S. health plans has registered its opinion in one of the hardest-fought hospital mergers in a decade, urging the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to support the Federal Trade Commission's intent to undo ProMedica's 2010 acquisition of St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee, Ohio.
America's Health Insurance Plans said the court should bear in mind scholarly studies that have found that increased consolidation among healthcare providers leads to higher prices and fewer healthcare options for local businesses and consumers—commentary that comes amid a national wave of consolidations and a corresponding uptick in scrutiny by regulators.
"Doubtless there are a number of reasons explaining why some past hospital consolidations tended to result in higher prices," AHIP's recent friend-of-the-court brief on the case says (PDF). "But consistent, well-established and current scholarship shows that one factor is that hospitals in more concentrated markets are able to negotiate higher rates from health plans."