The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law today held a hearing on the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act, AHA-supported legislation that would standardize the merger review process for the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to rely exclusively on the federal courts to determine the competitiveness of a transaction. “Hospitals, in particular, have been adversely impacted by the ability of the FTC to use its own internal administrative process to challenge a transaction,” AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack told Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) in a letter of support for the bill (H.R. 2745). “Specifically, while the DOJ litigates its merger cases entirely in federal court before an impartial judge, the FTC has used the difference in authority between the two federal antitrust agencies to subject hospital transactions to what amounts to double jeopardy: commencing administrative litigation while at the same time pursuing a preliminary injunction in federal court. This unfair and punitive tactic should not be permitted….While AHA supports enforcement of the antitrust laws, relying exclusively on the federal courts to determine the competitiveness of a transaction ensures that hospitals, and others, receive a full hearing on the merits.”