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White House Gets FTC to Heel

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, October 8, 2010

Although the announcement could be interpreted as the president calling off the dogs, it's a little more complicated than that. Look for new regulations (who knows when those will be out) that will provide a safe harbor, or several, so that doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals will know exactly how they are able to collaborate and how they are not.

But it won't be that simple. It never is when government regulations come into play. The agency further suggested it might develop an expedited review process for the ACOs that fall outside the safe harbors, whatever they may permit.

The rhetoric is welcome. The proof will come later.

Editor's note: This is only one potential regulatory landmine, but there are others. I'd be interested to hear about any you know of that need to be fixed so that the admirable goals of healthcare reform aren't ultimately undone by the rules of the game. The only way to get them changed is to shed light on them—the sooner the better. Please email me at the address below.


Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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2 comments on "White House Gets FTC to Heel"


bob (10/11/2010 at 10:53 AM)
The simple solution is to pass legislation exempting the not-for-profits from per se anti-trust violations. Possibly, the administration is able to do that without legislation? That could make a real difference. There should be no legal restrictions on collaboration purely in the public interest.

Patrick Plemmons (10/8/2010 at 11:10 PM)
"The admirable goals of healthcare reform". Really? Do you really think the "White House" is bringing the FTC to heel? The goals of this White House with regard to "healthcare reform" are to undermine the private market for healthcare to the extent that a single payer, government run system is inevitable. Every day brings new evidence of this to anyone who cares to look and think. It is touching that you ascribe such noble motives to the "White House" but unless this awful piece of legislation is rolled back, the hospital industry in this country is going to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Federal government and will not have to worry about accountable care organizations or anything else other than taking orders. Let's see what November 2 brings. It can't come soon enough.