WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Victoria Spartz (IN-05) today introduced the bipartisan Stop Anticompetitive Healthcare Act. The bill would amend the Federal Trade Commission Act to expand antitrust enforcement to non-profit hospitals. Currently, the FTC has no ability to stop anticompetitive actions by non-profit hospital systems.
“Being able to access quality, affordable healthcare is crucial to living well and to thriving. There is no question that hospital consolidation hurts patients by causing healthcare costs to jump and removing choice,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “My bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Spartz would put in important guardrails to prevent corporations from putting profits over proper patient care without changing anything else about a hospital’s non-profit status. We are saying enough is enough with corporate profiteering off people’s illnesses in our healthcare system.”
“Hospital consolidation and lack of competition is a major factor driving unsustainable health care prices,” said Congresswoman Victoria Spartz. “More than one of eight Americans and one of six Hoosiers are in collections due to medical debt, which is unacceptable. Non-profit hospital status should not be a loophole to avoid antitrust enforcement.”
A 2020 report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission found that hospital mergers lead to higher healthcare prices for patients. An analysis by the New York Times also found that hospital consolidation virtually eliminated competition and caused hospital admission costs to rise. Areas with the highest rate of hospital consolidation had prices go up between 11% and 54%.
Working Americans bear the brunt of hospital mergers, with higher costs and diminished quality of care. Preventing hospitals from engaging in anticompetitive behavior that stifles choice and the ability to seek affordable, quality care will be crucial to lowering healthcare costs for working families.