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Antitrust questions

ADA asks FTC for guidance on economic issues in light of inquiry on quality-based competition

Washington—The Association in a policy communication with the Federal Trade Commission called for further antitrust guidance on provider collaborations while cautioning against "unnecessary, unhelpful, untimely" government regulation of health care quality information.

The ADA staff-to-FTC staff communication has implications for government health policymakers as the Commission launches a public inquiry to "identify those attributes of health care quality that consumers, employers, insurers and physicians need and use to enable quality-based competition among providers and treatment options."

ADA President John S. Findley announced the Association's Nov. 24 for-the-record comments in a "Dear Colleagues" letter linking to the full statement and to a second letter related to the Red Flags Rule. "FTC staff will use the information gathered through the (Oct. 30) workshop to prepare a written report, as well as to make recommendations to health care policymakers, including Congress, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services," Dr. Findley said.

The ADA offered four broad recommendations:

  • Avoid one-size-fits-all policy proposals;
  • Consider the widely-accepted benefits of self-regulation;
  • Provide additional guidance on antitrust-compliant provider collaborations;
  • Consider using the Commission's consumer protection authority to examine the risks of insurer-driven provider rating efforts.

"The ADA thanks the Commission for conducting this serious inquiry into the competitive role of health care quality information," said the Association comments submitted for the continuing FTC inquiry. "We look forward to working with FTC staff to address these important issues as the Commission's inquiry moves forward."