Antitrust, Health Care Quality, and the Courts
Peter J. Hammer
Wayne State University Law School
William M. Sage
University of Texas at Austin School of Law; University of Texas at Austin - Dell Medical School
Columbia Law Review, Vol. 102, 2002, Forthcoming
Antitrust law represents the principal legal tool that the United States employs to police private markets, yet it often relegates quality and nonprice considerations to a secondary position. While antitrust law espouses the belief that vigorous competition will enhance quality as well as price, little evidence exists of the practical ability of courts to deliver on that promise. In this Article, Professors Hammer and Sage examine American health care as a vehicle for advancing understanding of the nexus among competition, quality, and antitrust law. The Article reports the results of a comprehensive empirical review of judicial opinions in health care antitrust litigation between 1985 and 1999, with specific attention to courts' handling of quality and other nonprice concerns. Professors Hammer and Sage conclude that, although antitrust law cannot be expected to serve as the sole oversight mechanism for industries as complex and quality dependent as health care, courts have been successful incorporating some nonprice factors into antitrust analysis.
Date posted: March 16, 2002