Prof. Greaney Testifies Before Congress
SLU LAW faculty showcase their individual expertise as well as enhance the national reputation of the School of Law in a variety of ways, whether it’s through presentations, media interviews, article and book publications or, from time to time, by testifying in front of elected officials. Recently, Thomas (Tim) Greaney, Chester A. Myers Professor of Law and co-director of the Center for Health Law Studies, used his scholarly expertise to educate members of the U.S. Congress.
Greaney testified before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 19 in a hearing on Consolidation in the Health Care Industry. He was called about a week beforehand and spent a couple days drafting his testimony. This was the second time he has provided live testimony to the House Judiciary Committee; he also previously submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee when he was unable to attend.
“It is an honor to be asked to testify and also a learning experience as you try to condense some really complicated information and analysis into a short written testimony and a five minute presentation,” Greaney said. “It’s also rewarding to know that what you've been writing about for years has some relevance in an important public policy context.”
Greaney also turned the experience into a teaching opportunity by directly involving students in his Competition and Regulation seminar, who did a moot court with him the day before he testified. “Let’s just say their questions were at least as good as the ones I got on the Hill.”
Greaney summarized his testimony with five key points.
“First of all, the Affordable Care Act actually depends upon and promotes competition in provider and payer markets.
Secondly, hospital market concentration is the result of merger waves that have been going on for the last 20 years. And this consolidation was actually fomented by, what I believe are erroneous court decisions, lax anti-trust enforcement and it was exacerbated by government payment policies and other laws.
Third, the Affordable Care Act fosters pro-competitive consolidations through reforms and incentives and encourages providers to form efficient delivery systems. But I think it is erroneous and misleading to claim the Affordable Care Act is somehow responsible for anti-competitive mergers, when in fact these mergers are designed precisely to avoid the pro-competitive features of the Act.
Fourth, there has been a significant resurgence in anti-trust enforcement, and I think that should serve to limit consolidations going forward. But as other witnesses have said, anti-trust will not unwind preexisting consolidations.
[Finally] The provider monopoly problem calls for countermeasures that reduce barriers to entry, enable payers to develop tools that promote consumer choice and encourage new delivery systems.”
A recording of the testimony is available below (Greaney appears at the 1:09:25 mark).