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Federal Trade Commission Withdraws Health Care Enforcement Policy Statements

The Federal Trade Commission announced today the withdrawal of two antitrust policy statements related to enforcement in health care markets: Statements of Antitrust Enforcement Policy in Health Care, published in August 1996, and Statement of Antitrust Enforcement Policy Regarding Accountable Care Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program from October 2011.

The FTC has determined that the withdrawal of the two statements is the best course of action for promoting fair competition in health care markets. Much of the statements are outdated and no longer reflect market realities in this important sector of the economy. The Commission’s withdrawal follows the Department of Justice’s decision to rescind the same statements in February 2023.

Given the profound changes in these markets over the last 30 years, the statements no longer serve their intended purpose of providing accurate guidance to market participants. Rather, the Commission’s extensive record of enforcement actions, policy statements, and competition advocacy in health care provide more up-to-date guidance to the public. The Commission will continue its enforcement by evaluating on a case-by-case basis mergers and conduct in health care markets that affect consumers.

In making its enforcement decisions, the Commission will rely on general principles of antitrust enforcement and competition policy for all markets, including markets related to the provision of health care products and services.

The Commission vote to rescind the statements was 3-0.