by Sam Hieb
Charlotte Observer reports North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein will review the merger between Charlotte’s Carolinas HealthCare System and Chapel Hill’s UNC Health Care in order to ensure healthcare competition will not be compromised:
Stein’s office told the Observer the review also involves other aspects of the transaction, including if it might affect the operations of UNC Health Care, an entity created by state legislation almost 20 years ago.
It’s the first glimpse at how the pending deal is being scrutinized by the attorney general since the hospital systems in late August announced plans to form a joint operating company.
….The transaction does not require approval from the state attorney general. But Stein, a Democrat, can sue to block the deal if he believes it will hurt consumers or competition.
“One of the roles of the attorney general is to protect the consuming public,” said Gerry Cohen, the principal drafter of the 1998 statute that formed UNC Health Care. The 12-hospital system, owned by the state, is under the UNC system’s board of governors, whose members are appointed by the legislature.
I’m sure many will see the irony behind Stein’s decision to review on the basis of competition, considering the fact that he was one of 18 state attorneys general to sue the Trump administration over Obamacare subsidies.