Feds double down on lawsuit against Carolinas HealthCare
The U.S. Justice Department urged a North Carolina federal judge to take a closer look at Carolinas HealthCare System’s steering provisions in insurer contracts and to ignore the health system’s pleas for a quick escape from the government’s lawsuit.
Although the feds recently suffered a loss in a similar contract arrangement suit involving American Express in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department says that decision holds no bearing on the Carolinas case and doesn’t undermine its challenge against these deals. The Justice Department alleges that the 10-hospital system based in Charlotte, N.C., used anti-competitive steering provisions in its contracts with four major North Carolina insurers to ensure patients would come to their hospitals.
Aetna Health of the Carolinas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Cigna Healthcare of North Carolina and UnitedHealthcare of North Carolina hold 85% of the commercial insurance market in the Charlotte area, according to the feds.