Competing on Quality of Care: Comparing Antitrust Law to Market Reality

Award Year:
Peter Hammer, William Sage
Health Care Law, Quality of Care
Although quality has been extensively analyzed in health services research, its role in competition policy has not been elucidated. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the potential for competition policy to protect and improve health care quality, and to determine how best to structure oversight of a competitive marketplace, encouraging appropriate tradeoffs between price and quality. Drs. Sage and Hammer approach these problems through the lens of antitrust law, the government's principal tool to promote competition in health care and other industries. They examine the health care regulatory environment and specific aspects of regulation designed to further noncompetitive goals such as community rating laws, tax subsidies, and entitlements. Changes to antitrust law and the surrounding regulatory environment are prescribed, attempting to resolve trade-offs between price and non-price competition, and between competitive and noncompetitive objectives in current health law and policy.