FTC Attempts to Block Proposed California Health Systems Merger

By Consumers for Quality Care, on December 13, 2023

FTC Attempts to Block Proposed California Health Systems Merger

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed an administrative complaint against John Muir Health to block its proposed acquisition of the San Ramon Regional Medical Center, according to reports by Healthcare Dive.

John Muir already owns a 49 percent stake in San Ramon Regional Medical Center, a lower cost competitor, but entered a tentative agreement in January to become the facility’s sole owner.

The acquisition of San Ramon would decrease the already limited regional competition and give John Muir control over more than half of the inpatient care services along the I-680 corridor.

According to Henry Liu, the Director of the Bureau of Competition at the FTC, “San Ramon Regional Medical Center has played an important role in ensuring Californians on the I-680 corridor have access to quality, affordable care for critical health care services.”

The Biden administration has condemned these types of mergers before, arguing that consolidation in the health care industry usually results in higher prices and lower quality of care for consumers.

Decreased competition hurts consumers, often leading to fewer options for care and higher out-of-pocket costs. CQC urges regulators and lawmakers to scrutinize hospital mergers and to do everything within their power to ensure that consumers don’t foot the bill for anti-competitive practices.