Competition or Regulation: The Case for Antitrust Enforcement
My current affiliation with the FTC and my general involvement in the antitrust enforcement effort in the health services industry signify a belief that intelligent antitrust enforcement is needed to make that market more responsive to consumers’ needs and particularly to their concern — and your concern as employers — about costs. The antitrust approach to the health care cost problem depends mainly on the time-honored prohibition against any collaboration among suppliers that destroys competition. The antitrust laws, as they have developed under section 1 of the Sherman Act, have never, except in the depths of the Depression, allowed competitors to agree to destroy competition, even when the anticompetitive collaboration appeared to have some worthy purpose. This principle was reiterated recently by the Supreme Court in a case involving the engineering profession. That profession had maintained an ethical prohibition against competitive bidding for contracts, allegedly because competition might induce the building of unsafe structures. That case showed that the so-called learned professions can no longer hope to be exempted from the rules of free enterprise, or even to be treated much differently other business groups.
KeywordsCost Containment Cost Problem Antitrust Enforcement Government Perspective Controversial Industry
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