Testifying today at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack drew a sharp contrast between the realignment taking place in the hospital and health system field and the consolidation proposed in the health insurance industry. “For hospitals and health systems, realigning and transforming care means working closely with other providers to make sure that patients and communities have convenient access to health care,” Pollack told the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. Despite regulatory barriers continuing to constrain the pace of innovation, he said hospitals are coming together “to provide patients with high-quality, well-coordinated care, and it is contributing to lower cost growth.” In contrast, the recently announced deals involving four of the five largest commercial health insurers “would leave consumers with fewer – and no doubt – more expensive options for coverage” and “diminish the insurers’ willingness to be innovative partners with providers and consumers to transform health care,” Pollack said. He urged Congress and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division to closely scrutinize the proposed deals, in which Anthem would acquire Cigna and Aetna would acquire Humana. For more on the issue, see today’s AHASTAT blog post and www.advancinghealthinamerica.org