New Government Roles to Investigate Healthcare Price-Gouging and Antitrust Issues in Biden Administration Initiative

December 19, 2023

The Biden administration is enhancing its scrutiny of healthcare price-gouging by creating new roles in three major government agencies – the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These positions will focus on investigating private equity’s impact on healthcare and anti-competitive practices in the industry.

The initiative is part of the White House’s effort to address what it terms “corporate greed” in healthcare. The new officials will coordinate across these agencies, sharing data, training employees, and creating policy initiatives. While the DOJ traditionally focuses on health insurance company activities and the FTC on providers like hospitals, these lines are increasingly blurred, necessitating better communication and coordination.

The roles will likely formalize existing informal communications between the FTC and DOJ, who share responsibilities in scrutinizing health sector mergers and acquisitions. HHS’s involvement, though not typical in antitrust investigations, is expected to provide valuable insights into the dynamics of the healthcare industry.

Experts believe these positions will increase data transparency in the sector and lead to more proactive regulatory approaches. This initiative will clarify the impact of private equity on healthcare and reshape perceptions that associate private equity ownership entirely negatively. The exact effect of these new roles on day-to-day enforcement and policy-making, particularly in the DOJ and FTC, is yet to be seen.

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[Source: STAT, December 19th, 2023]

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