Media Corner

On June 29, 2017, AAI Associate General Counsel Randy Stutz testified at an oversight hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. The hearing, entitled “Recent Trends in International Enforcement,” focused on a recently published report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Stutz’s prepared testimony on behalf of the AAI is available here.

Harvard Law School’s Einer Elhauge was presented the Jerry S. Cohen Award for Antitrust Scholarship by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll's Dan Small at the American Antitrust Institute's Annual Conference on June 21. The Cohen Award was created through a trust established in honor of the late Jerry S. Cohen, an outstanding trial lawyer and antitrust writer. It is administered by the law firm he founded, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll.

The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) presented William J. Baer with the 2017 Alfred E. Kahn Award for Antitrust Achievement  during the luncheon program at AAI’s 18th Annual Conference on June 21. Baer recently served as Acting Associate Attorney General and was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Baer was introduced by Renata B. Hesse, former Acting Assistant Attorney General at the Antitrust Division and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. 

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today upholding the trial court’s injunction preventing the merger of giant health insurers Anthem and Cigna because it would would be anticompetitive.  The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) had joined with numerous consumer groups to file an amicus brief urging the Court of Appeals to affirm the district court decision.  The proposed merger would have been the largest in the history of the health insurance industry, combining two of the four national carriers.

For almost three decades, light-handed enforcement of the U.S. antitrust laws tilted the scales toward allowing consolidation and strategic conduct that was thought to enhance “efficiency.” Justifications for this approach ranged from forcing down costs, to promoting quality control and spurring investment in R&D by large deep-pocketed firms. Over-enforcement was the bogeyman of conservative ideology. Too-vigorous application of the laws threatened to stifle the efficiencies that were expected to flow from mergers and restraints on competition.

On Tuesday, January 31, 2017, President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. AAI President Diana Moss said, “AAI will continue to review Judge Gorsuch’s record and press the Senate to ensure any Supreme Court nominee is committed to enforcement of the antitrust laws. Such enforcement should be consistent with congressional intent throughout the past many decades, thereby ensuring the robust continuation of free and competitive markets.”

Today, the AAI praised Judge John D. Bates’s opinion granting the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) an injunction to block the merger of health insurers Aetna and Humana. AAI President Diana Moss noted, “This is a victory for competition and consumers. The opinion sets forth a clear, logical, and understandable rationale for why the merger would have raised prices and reduced benefits to consumers in important health insurance markets.”

"Attempts by the incoming administration to broker merger deals or directly negotiate merger concessions signal a fundamental disregard for the law and for due process. Antitrust enforcers play the important role of referee in protecting competition and our market system. Every consumer, producer, competitor, and customer should be able to count on a fair, predictable, and transparent process for government review of mergers. The end-runs that we are seeing in key mergers such as Monsanto-Bayer not only abuse the process, they imperil our markets, our economy, and our society.”  
- American Antitrust Institute President Diana Moss

As a new year and new administration begins, the American Antitrust Institute (AAI) reiterates key priorities for competition enforcement and policy. In September 2016, the AAI issued “A National Competition Policy: Unpacking the Problem of Declining Competition and Setting Priorities Moving Forward.” The statement resets the debate over the importance of antitrust enforcement and competition policy in the United States.

The National Competition Policy statement unpacks the increasingly high-profile problems that are symptomatic of declining competition, including rising concentration, declining rates of market entry, and growing inequality. It then suggests three core principles for a National Competition Policy, and sets out seven priorities that should guide the new approach.

The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) announced today that its Board of Directors has unanimously elected Pamela Gilbert as its new Chair, effective January 1, 2017. Ms. Gilbert has been a Member of the AAI Board of Directors since 2010.

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