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Charlotte Area

Carolinas HealthCare System Wants Antitrust Lawsuit Dismissed

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Carolinas HealthCare System is asking a federal judge to dismiss the antitrust lawsuit the U.S. Justice Department filed against it. The Charlotte-based hospital system argues the lawsuit is "unprecedented."

The federal government and the North Carolina attorney general allege Carolinas HealthCare System uses unlawful contract restrictions that result in higher costs and fewer choices for consumers. The lawsuit says the hospital system exerts its dominance over the Charlotte market in part by making insurance companies steer patients to its providers. 

In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Carolinas HealthCare says the government is effectively acting on behalf of four insurance companies that already control at least 85 percent of the Charlotte market. The hospital system argues the lawsuit is "novel theory that provisions negotiated between sophisticated insurance companies and the Hospital…constitute an unreasonable restraint of trade."

Carolinas HealthCare maintains its contracts are industry standard. And it says its prices are more about quality and range of services than market dominance. 

Responses from the U.S. Justice Department and the North Carolina attorney general are due August 25.