As Obamacare accelerates the transformation of the U.S. health sector into a complex of regulated utilities, providers are concentrating into oligopolies. The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Department of Justice will use “strict review” when considering mergers of health insurers, while the Federal Trade Commission will also review hospital mergers closely:
The prospect of consolidation poses high stakes for the Obama administration, whose signature domestic policy legacy is the 2010 health-care law. Some aspects of the health law were designed to increase insurance-industry competition, including marketplaces for health coverage and the creation of new nonprofit cooperative health plans around the country.
But the law also includes provisions that may have helped inspire consolidation, at least indirectly.
(B. Kendall & A. Wilde Mathews, “DOJ Girds for Strict Review of Any Health-Insurers Mergers,” Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2015)