Responding today to a Federal Trade Commission request for comments on the impact of certificates of public advantage, AHA takes no position on COPA laws but says the drive for states to enact them and for hospitals to obtain COPAs might diminish if the agency were to credit efficiency claims by merging hospitals more often. The Horizontal Merger Guidelines indicate that the FTC and Department of Justice will credit efficiencies in an antitrust analysis, but many merging hospitals have found that promise “chimerical,” AHA wrote. As a result, many state legislatures and hospitals have concluded that a COPA process “is preferable to an antitrust review that focuses narrowly on competition to the near exclusion of all other considerations,” AHA said.
 
In separate comments submitted to FTC, health care consulting firm Kaufman, Hall & Associates said “competition-based approaches are unlikely to prove effective in lowering costs, promoting efficient resource allocation, and improving quality and access to markets where acute inpatient capacity significantly exceeds the needs of the population.”
 
FTC will hold a public workshop June 18 in Washington, D.C., to assess the impact of COPAs on health care prices, quality, access and innovation.

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