Globe: Justice to investigate Partners Healthcare

The Boston Globe reports this morning that the Justice Department is investigating Partners Healthcare  for “anticompetitive behavior.”

In a letter sent to Partners and the state’s three largest health insurers on April 19, investigators from the Justice Department’s antitrust division demanded documents relating to Partners’ “contracting and other practices in health care markets in Eastern Massachusetts.’’

The letter, obtained by the Globe, said the probe sought to determine whether the practices violated the Sherman Antitrust Act, which bars companies from using their market power to limit trade or artificially raise prices. The parties were told to respond by May 19.

Partners responded  by saying the company was cooperating in the investigation, which a spokesman described as “an ongoing analysis of health care in Massachusetts.’’

The group, which owns MGH, the Brigham and a more, is the biggest health care player in the state. Investigations by both the Globe and the state’s attorney general suggest that Partners’ market power and high prices are fueling high health costs in the state and limiting competition. Partners responded to the Globe series on its own website.

All that’s changing now. Stay tuned.

If all that is too depressing, John Stewart has collected all his Daily Show reports on health care on one page with titles like “Men who Stare at Votes.”

For the humorous take on health reform from the other side, see comments by former Saturday Night Live cast members Victoria Jackson, who performed with the Tea Party Express,  and Fox regular Dennis Miller.

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