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FTC Member Warns of Antitrust Concerns in Health Care Law, Seeks ‘Vigorous Enforcement’

Posted Feb 10, 2011 6:30 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A member of the Federal Trade Commission is raising concerns that the new health care law could reduce competition by allowing collaboration between hospitals and doctors.

FTC member J. Thomas Rosch, an antitrust lawyer, says “vigorous antitrust enforcement” will be needed to preserve competition, the New York Times reports. He expressed his reservations in private letters to the White House and the federal Medicare agency that were obtained by the newspaper.

According to the story, the letters highlight a struggle between the FTC and the U.S. Justice Department over which agency will be responsible for enforcing antitrust laws under the health care act. Officials for both agencies told the Times they hope to issue a joint statement explaining how they will evaluate proposals to collaborate.

The health care law allows hospital-physician joint ventures known as accountable care organizations to provide joint care for Medicare beneficiaries.

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