Sorting through the Penn State Health/Pinnacle decision
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 09.27.16
(Harrisburg) -- While two midstate health systems try to figure out their next steps after a crushing court decision, other experts are sorting through the ruling itself.
One former regulator says the decision is a big one for consumers.
Tim Greaney used to work on these kinds of cases, as a senior staffer at the U.S. Justice Department.
Now, he's the co-director of the Center for Health Law Studies at St. Louis University.
And when he looked at the federal appeals court ruling to block the Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth merger, he thought about his former colleagues.
"I don't know whether to describe it as a celebration or a sigh of relief, because there was a lot of stake in this case and the case that's pending up in Chicago, in terms of defining geographic markets," says Greaney.
But more importantly, Greaney says patients won't face inflated bills going forward.
"The economic evidence is pretty good, although it's not overwhelming, that consumers benefit from having competition at the hospital level and at other levels as well, including insurance markets," he adds.
The appeals court argued that a combined Penn State Health and Pinnacle Health would have been able to hike prices about 5 percent a year, on top of inflation and nationwide price pressures.
Greaney says Penn State Health and PinnacleHealth could still appeal, but would face a tough road.
The health systems say they're still discussing their options.
Published in Healthcare Transformation