Morgan’s Monopoly Digest – January 2023
January 23, 2023 Anti-Monopoly Policies & EnforcementCompetition Policy Digest
By Morgan Harper
Building Worker Power
- FTC COMBATS NONCOMPETES. As Chair Lina Khan detailed in the , the FTC has proposed banningnoncompete agreements for all workers. Noncompetes prevent from changing jobs or starting their own business, which decreases wages and stalls entrepreneurship and innovation. A of economic thought leaders, small advocates, and applauded the announcement. Anyone can submit comments on the proposed rule . The FTC also three companies for illegal noncompete policies. This is the first time the FTC has sued to halt noncompetes.
- TRAVEL TURBULENCE CONTINUES. Southwest Airlines left stranded over the holidays, and what the Department of Transportation (DOT) can do to improve the airlines. The DOT previously , which has a 2% market share, but none of the large carriers for widespread flight cancellations over the summer. Economic Liberties’ Senior Fellow Bill McGee discussed the Southwest fiasco on the and, in a op-ed, makes the case for to give state AGs and legislatures power to protect consumers and promote competition.
Reining in Big Tech
- POTUS DEMANDS CONGRESS CHECK BIG TECH. Four tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — to crush competition, undermine democracy, corrupt our economy, and endanger children. In the wake of , President Biden to act in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Improving Health Care
- TAKING ON UPMC’S HOSPITAL MONOPOLY. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is a notorious hospital monopoly that controls 40 hospitals with 8,800 licensed beds, an insurance network that covers more than 4 million people, and employs roughly 92,000 workers. Last week, in partnership with Congresswoman Summer Lee, PA State Rep. Sara Innamorato, and SEIU, Economic Liberties released The paper is an in-depth examination of how UMPC has used its power to drive down wages, working conditions, and the quality of care in Western Pennsylvania, and includes a robust policy agenda for reducing that power and reintroducing competition into the local health care market.
- SENATORS PUSH HHS FOR GENERIC DRUGS. Many drug patents operate as , blocking out generics and high drug costs. For example, Xtandi, a leading prostate cancer medication, costs Americans six times more than in other high-income countries. Earlier this month, Senator Warren and others members HHS to fight back by exercising its “march-in” rights under the and issue patent licenses forgeneric versions of Xtandi. By bypassing drug company patent monopolies, HHS has the opportunity to spur industry competition and lower prices.
- OREGON APPROVES AMAZON-ONE MEDICAL. In July 2022, Amazon plans to acquire One Medical, a national primary care company with health care data of 700,000+ patients in 29 markets. The acquisition would Amazon’s market power in healthcare. Recently, the Oregon Health Authority the deal over intense opposition, including from labor unions. All eyes were on Oregon’s ruling because of their hospital M&A . The FTC is also investigating the merger, which, according to a report, is specifically probing concerns among Amazon Care’s corporate customers.
In the Name of National Security
- DOJ TARGETS MILITARY CONTRACT RIGGING. A Department of Defense identified a lack of competition among military contractors as a threat to national security. In response to a contractor conspiring to rig procurement bidding, further limiting competition, DOJ sued for Sherman Act Section 1 violations and secured a plea.
- Senate Judiciary Committee is hosting a on January 24 at 10am ET to examine competition in the live events industry, especially the role of Live Nation-Ticketmaster. Learn more at .
- , Special Assistant to the President for Competition and Tech Policy, has departed the White House. During his tenure, Wu supported the President’s appointment of strong antitrust enforcers and assisted with the .
- The FTC is said to be Pepsi and Coca-Cola over price discrimination in violation of the .
- As directed by President Biden in his , a new FDA rule allowing over-the-counter hearing aid sales went into effect this fall. Since then, that a “seismic shift” has taken place in the hearing aid market, and new devices are being rolled out “in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices…retailers and drug stores are about to be awash in these devices.”
- Whether it’s a “service fee” when buying a concert ticket or “administrative fee” when submitting an application, it’s almost impossible to escape junk fees. The FTC is looking for on how these abusive fees inflate costs. Comments are due February 8.