Wiggin and Dana Partner Quoted in Bloomberg BNA Regarding West Virginia Merger Bill

March 24, 2016
Bloomberg BNA

Wiggin and Dana Partner Robert Langer was quoted in the Bloomberg BNA article called, "W. Va. Passes Merger Bill; Sets Up FTC Fight," published on March 14, 2016.

West Virginia Legislature passed a law that exempts the actions of hospitals and health-care providers from state and federal antitrust laws and includes them under the jurisdiction of the state's health-care authority. The bill seeks to immunize a specific hospital merger from scrutiny, setting up a possible conflict with the Federal Trade Commission.

Mr. Langer is quoted in the article saying, "Here, the language of the statute clearly articulates a state policy to displace antitrust law with state regulation in cooperative agreements among hospitals."

"But writing a law that explicitly replaces the antitrust law with a different state regulatory scheme is only one step in immunizing a market from antitrust regulation, and isn't sufficient by itself to confer immunity," Mr. Langer said.
"A state may be able to achieve immunity for its agencies, boards and commissions if the strictures of the state action immunity doctrine are met, but a state cannot perforce exempt its agencies, boards and commissions from the federal antitrust laws," he said.
"If that is what the West Virginia Legislature intends, an interesting challenge will follow from the FTC and/or DOJ," he added.
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