Highmark: UPMC lawsuit doesn't make economic sense

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UPMC's lawsuit accusing Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System of conspiring to destroy it should be dismissed, the region's biggest insurer argued in a motion filed Thursday.

"Every antitrust complaint, to survive dismissal, must at minimum make economic sense," Highmark wrote in its motion. "This one does not."

UPMC's claim that it is "a powerless victim" of Highmark and West Penn Allegheny flies in the face of its own public statements, the insurer said in its statement -- especially since it "boasts" of double-digit revenue growth and its "$10 billion integrated global health enterprise," Highmark wrote in a news release.

A UPMC spokesman could not be reached for comment.

UPMC sued Highmark in May, claiming that the insurer and the region's second-biggest healthcare system, West Penn Allegheny, worked together illegally to siphon off patients. That lawsuit is being handled by U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti, who is also overseeing West Penn Allegheny's 3-year-old lawsuit claiming that UPMC stifled competition.

Separately, a group of ratepayers led by real estate firm Royal Mile Co. is suing Highmark and UPMC, alleging rate gouging, but has proposed to settle with Highmark in exchange for help pursuing its claims against UPMC.

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