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health care, hospitals, hospital mergers, antitrust, market definition, Clayton Act, FTC


Abstract: Analysis of the competitive effects of hospital mergers requires antitrust tribunals to make exceedingly fine-tuned appraisals of complex economic relationships. The law requires fact finding in a number of complex areas, e.g., defining product and geographic markets, predicting the possibility of that firms will engage in coordinated behavior; and assessing efficiencies flowing from the merger. Further complicating the process is the fact that these decisions require judgments regarding what the future may hold in an industry undergoing revolutionary change. Like pilots landing at night aboard an aircraft carrier, courts are aiming for a target that is small, shifting and poorly illuminated.