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AHIP: ACO antitrust rules to drive provider consolidation

The proposed antitrust regulations for accountable care organizations are too relaxed and could lead to increased provider consolidation, which could then drive up healthcare costs, according to America's Health Insurance Plans, the national association for health insurers.

In comments to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, AHIP argues that the agencies should establish "more, rather than less, review" and calls upon the FTC and DOJ to lower its safety zone thresholds.

That's because AHIP says the regulations don't include an appropriate level of review, especially considering the significant risk that enhanced cooperation among providers will lead to higher prices and lower quality of care.

The formation of ACOs would likely lead to more market consolidation among healthcare providers, writes AHIP, even though studies have shown that larger healthcare systems with market power result in higher prices, lower quality and reduced innovation.

AHIP added that the rules could create loopholes in which hospitals and physician groups could escape scrutiny from the antitrust provisions.

To learn more:
- read the AHIP letter (.pdf)

Related Articles:
Accountable Care Organizations: Draft rules and guidance released by CMS, IRS, OIG, FTC
ACO rule: Good, bad or ugly for payers?
AHIP: Don't give providers too much power in ACOs

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