AT&T, Time Warner, and the Future of Health Care


The recent court ruling allowing the merger of AT&T and Time Warner will likely encourage similar unions throughout the U.S. economy, including in health care. But policymakers and private actors should not interpret the court’s decision as an unconditional green light for so-called vertical integration in health care, says Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D., in a To the Point post.

Blumenthal points out that while horizontal health care mergers have been well-studied and demonstrated to increase prices, we know much less about vertical integration, in which different types of health care organizations come together.  If these vertical mergers are challenged on anti-trust grounds, the facts of individual cases will be critical to the legal outcomes and to their effects on health care.

“The need for change is obvious. Whether vertical integration is the change we need, and how the courts will treat it, remains to be determined.”

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