House Subcommittee Considers Obamacare's Impact on Competition

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 20, 2013

Witnesses representing payers and providers agree that healthcare industry consolidation predates the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by at least two decades, but blame each other for rising healthcare costs.

A U.S. House Subcommittee heard a range of perspectives on Thursday from a panel of lobbyists and policy wonks who were asked if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is hurting competition in the healthcare marketplace. The consensus from the panel was maybe, maybe not, and we're not really sure yet.

There was a general agreement from the witnesses that healthcare industry consolidation predates the PPACA by at least two decades. The questions then became whether or not "Obamacare" was accelerating that consolidation and whether that consolidation is driving up healthcare costs.

For the most part, the testimony from lobbyists for the American Hospital Association and America's Health Insurance Plans, covered little new ground but reaffirmed each side's contention that the other was to blame for rising healthcare costs.

"Officials at the antitrust agencies have stated repeatedly that they have been and will remain focused on competition in the healthcare sector. Transactions that these authorities deem to be anticompetitive, in fact, have been challenged," AHA lobbyist Sharis A. Pozen told the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law.

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2 comments on "House Subcommittee Considers Obamacare's Impact on Competition"

Donald Stumpp (9/20/2013 at 12:22 PM)
One more thing To Healthleaders: Is there any way you could stop using the term "Obamacare"? The lay press of course does, but I bet as a healthcare news source, your readers will know what you mean if the title was instead: House Subcommittee Considers ACA's Impact on Competition. The title of the Act which is not Obamacare.

Donald Stumpp (9/20/2013 at 11:38 AM)
I agree with Barak Richman rather than AHA or AHIP. I wonder if anyone made mention that health care costs are also more affected by volume rather than specific unit costs? The most cost effective medical procedure or hospital stay is the one that didnt need to happen because of early intervention or better population health. Check obesity rates of the past two decades. That's what has driven healthcare costs (among other things)




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