July 12, 2021
President Biden signs executive order on promoting competition in American economy, including four areas of health care
The order tackles consolidation and anti-competitive behavior in the prescription drug, hospital, health insurance, and hearing aid markets
On July 9, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. In his remarks, President Biden said that the order is a "critical step towards an economy that works for everyone" and expressed his belief that "capitalism without competition isn't capitalism — it's exploitation." Among other items, he said that the order "commits the government to full and aggressive enforcement of antitrust laws," noting that it includes 72 initiatives across a dozen federal agencies and represents a "whole-of-government" effort.
The order aims to tackle four areas of health care — prescription drug costs, hospital consolidation, health insurance choice, and hearing aid access. The order states: "Americans are paying too much for prescription drugs and healthcare services — far more than the prices paid in other countries. Hospital consolidation has left many areas, particularly rural communities, with inadequate or more expensive healthcare options. And too often, patent and other laws have been misused to inhibit or delay — for years and even decades — competition from generic drugs and biosimilars, denying Americans access to lower-cost drugs."
Among other items, the order directs federal agencies to increase access to lower-cost drugs through importation and banning of "pay for delay" deals; to increase access to affordable, convenient health care by revising merger guidelines and supporting price transparency efforts; to increase patient choice by standardizing plan options in the National Health Insurance Marketplace; and to reduce the cost of hearing aids by allowing them to be sold over the counter. The administration released a fact sheet in advance of the order outlining a detailed summary of key actions.
Additional information can be found in the attached Tax Alert.
Competition executive order