Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Antitrust News: FTC Strikes Again

Today the Federal Trade Commission announced its 13th settlement in the past 18 months with a physician organization over charges of illegal negotiating with health insurers. Actually, today's settlement is with nine groups of physicians and hospitals in "a large region of south Georgia" that acted together. There's nothing new in this settlement. The FTC does not allege any fraud, force, or actual coercion took place, only that the physicians (and hospitals) entered into voluntary negotiations with insurers. In some cases, the negotiations were successfully concluded as long as eight years ago. But no matter, the FTC has now decided any and all contracts negotiated by the Georgia groups are null and void, and from now on, physicians and hospitals will enjoy no right to act in their own economic self-interest without FTC permission.

You can access copies of the FTC's public records of this case here.

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