Sen. Grassley asks for FTC investigation over secret hospital-insurer contracts

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate contracts between hospital systems and health insurers following a report from The Wall Street Journal that these secret contracts prevent savings by limiting competition and even increasing costs to consumers.

Grassley, who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the FTC this week asking the agency to follow up on the WSJ’s report. The publication’s investigation revealed that provisions in these secret contracts prohibit insurers from allowing patients to access lower-cost healthcare settings, particularly if they are rivals to hospital systems.

Grassley asked the FTC to examine “how prevalent the use of such contractual provisions is in the health-care industry, whether there is anticompetitive use of these provisions, and whether consolidation in the marketplace increases the potentially harmful impact of these provisions on competition,” the WSJ reported.

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