FARGO, N.D. (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced June 22 that it authorized a federal court action to block Sanford Health’s proposed acquisition of Mid Dakota Clinic.

The FTC believes the deal would violate antitrust laws, because it would reduce competition for adult primary care physician services, pediatric services, obstetrics and gynecology services, and general surgery physician services in the greater Bismarck and Mandan metropolitan area. The FTC jointly filed a complaint against the acquisition with the Office of the Attorney General of North Dakota.

“This merger is likely to reduce significantly the competitive options available to medical insurance providers, which in turn will lead to deteriorating terms for provision of medical care, including higher prices and lower quality,” said Tad Lipsky, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, in a statement. 

“The parties currently compete to join commercial insurers’ provider networks, stimulating each other to improve their technology, expand services, recruit high-quality physicians and provide patients with convenient and accessible physician and surgical services. The transaction would eliminate that competitive pressure.”

The FTC voted 2-0 to issue the administrative complaint. An administrative trial on the acquisition is set to begin Nov. 28.

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