Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) yesterday introduced the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act (S. 2847), AHA-supported legislation that would standardize the merger review process for the two federal antitrust agencies. The bill would eliminate the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to challenge a transaction without going to court and require the agency to meet the same preliminary injunction standards as the Department of Justice. “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,” AHA said in a letter of support for the bill. “Requiring both antitrust agencies to prove their case before a judge in the federal courts and not just internal proceedings in which the agency has an advantage protects due process and promotes efficiency. The SMARTER Act ensures a neutral judge makes a decision on the merits of each merger and leads to a quicker resolution so parties have certainty about their case.” The House passed the SMARTER Act last week. The Senate version includes an additional provision intended to streamline how the Federal Communications Commission reviews telecommunications mergers. 

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