More than 18 months after Sutter Health agreed to a tentative settlement in a closely watched antitrust case joined by the California Attorney General’s Office, the judge presiding over the case indicated she would sign off on the terms, pending agreement on attorney fees. The nonprofit health care giant, based in Sacramento, stood accused of violating California’s antitrust laws by using its market dominance to drive up prices.
The settlement is expected to have nationwide implications on how hospital systems negotiate prices with insurers.
“These plaintiffs are among the first, but will not be the last, to successfully challenge dominant health care systems who undertake land grabs to mark up prices at the expense of patients and employers,” Leemore Dafny, a Harvard Business School professor who studies the industry, wrote in an email. “This settlement has provided a marker for the rest of the nation.”