Antitrust law has been characterized as godfather to competition in health care, as landmark cases removed professional restraints of trade and challenged anticompetitive joint ventures and networks that had inhibited market approaches. More recently, antitrust may seem more like an absentee father, as unchecked consolidation over the past fifteen years resulted in markets with dominant providers whose high prices became a major driver of health cost inflation. With health care reform encouraging much-needed integration, policy makers and commercial payers have begun to question whether the law provided tools adequate to blunt the adverse effects of extant market power and whether judicial and enforcement resources would be able to prevent a recurrence of anticompetitive consolidations.

It is curious that antitrust law and competition policy remained in the shadows during the health reform debate. Only after its enactment did policy makers and commenters take...

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