Navigating the Backwater: Vertical Mergers in Health Care

By Thomas L. Greaney

Antitrust enforcers are taking a second look at vertical mergers as a large body of theoretical and empirical work has undermined the economic foundations of the laissez-faire approach that has characterized government policies over the last thirty years. Health care markets, which exhibit many of the key pre-conditions for harm from vertical mergers, are experiencing rapid consolidation. This essay suggests that continued forbearance will result in consumer harm and close attention should be paid to vertical combinations involving the providers, payors, and middlemen.

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