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The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday sued two hospital systems, HCA Healthcare and LCMC Health, asking a judge for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would stop LCMC from absorbing its newly acquired hospitals from HCA.

For the FTC, it’s a rare counterjab, indicating the federal agency is willing to use the courts to closely scrutinize local hospital mergers that would result in potential monopolies or oligopolies. The FTC’s lawsuit comes just one day after HCA and LCMC sued the FTC and the Department of Justice, arguing the federal agencies are threatening them with millions of dollars of penalties over paperwork they believe they are not required to file.


“We are seeking to hold LCMC accountable for disregarding the law by ignoring filing requirements and prematurely consummating their deal,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a news release. “Businesses that believe they can flout the law should be on notice: We will use the full scope of our authority to combat obstruction and to vindicate the FTC’s authority to investigate potentially illegal deals.”

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