Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law & Policy

Document Type

Symposium Article


Americans are paying too much for health care services and insurance, in large part due to insufficiently competitive markets. Waves of consolidation have fortified providers and insurers with market power, resulting in higher prices and lower quality for consumers. As antidotes, advocates have proposed various legislative, regulatory, and enforcement solutions. Yet, unlike public antitrust enforcement, private antitrust enforcement is either not mentioned or criticized as sour grapes from competitors or a money grab by consumers. Instead of ignoring or bashing private litigation, those looking to address the health care pricing crisis in the United States should be looking to optimize it. Effective private enforcement can restore competition, deter antitrust violations, and compensate victims in the markets for health care services and insurance. For plaintiffs, the key to optimizing private antitrust enforcement is overcoming the unavoidable challenges in litigating these cases—from satisfying pleading standards and establishing standing, to defining relevant markets. This article explains the key obstacles involved in these cases and tracks recent and current plaintiffs whose experiences provide insight.