Redefining Care and Competition Models in Health Care

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Kenneth Field, Sep 30, 2014

Believe it or not, antitrust enforcers, health system executives, and the drafters of the Affordable Care Act all have the same goals in mind. Everyone involved seeks to ensure and increase access to high-quality, low-cost care for patients.

The ACA incentivizes providers to shift from traditional fee-for-service models to population health management models designed to improve patient outcomes and slow the growth of health care costs. Health system executives are busy designing new delivery platforms to accomplish those goals by collaborating and consolidating with other providers to drive down costs and more fully integrate care across the continuum. Meanwhile, antitrust enforcers are actively policing this consolidation, believing that competition remains the best way to reduce costs and improve care for patients. The apparent conflict between incentives to collaborate and staunch antitrust enforcement has drawn more commentary and complaints than any other issue in antitrust for years. But much of the writing misses both the important common ground and the true areas of disagreement.