The Partners HealthCare agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General came under fire this week by antitrust experts who are calling on a state judge to block the agreement, saying its unlikely to contain rising medical costs
A letter dated July 21 and signed by 21 national antitrust experts and health economists urges the judge to reconsider her support of the proposed settlement. BU economics professor Randall P. Ellis is among those who signed.
"It should be something that we per se not allow because there’s been far too many mergers like this and there is significant evidence by economists that these mergers tend to result in higher prices," Ellis said.
In a written statement released Thursday, a spokesperson for Attorney General Martha Coakley defended the proposed deal.
“The economists who submitted this letter unfortunately fail to recognize many of the legal factors we had to consider while making our decision.”
Ellis balked at that notion.
"The letter that we wrote explicitly talks about the weaknesses of this case. It doesn’t impose permanent changes for a fixed duration, it doesn’t restrict Partners in other future transaction, there are many problems with this transaction," Ellis said. "I think Martha Coakley, who I admire, might be over simplifying the complexity of this case."
As of July 25, 70 public comments have been submitted to the Attorney General's office during the court mandated public comment period. Submissions have come from private citizens, elected officials, unions, various organizations, non-profits, and companies of all sizes. The public comment period ends on Sept. 15.
A hearing is planned for Sept. 29.