Highmark: UPMC lawsuit does not make economic sense
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UPMC's lawsuit accusing Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System of conspiring to destroy it just doesn't make sense, the region's biggest insurer argued in motion to dismiss the case filed today.
"Every antitrust complaint, to survive dismissal, must at minimum make economic sense," Highmark wrote in its motion. "This one does not."
In an accompanying press release, Highmark argued that UPMC "is trying to use legal maneuvering to eliminate competition in the Western Pennsylvania health care delivery market and further drive up the already unsustainable cost of health care."
A UPMC spokesman could not be reached for immediate 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 three-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.
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.
"UPMC publicly boasts of its record growth and prosperity -- revenue growth at an average annual rate of 13 percent over the past 15 years; creating a $10 billion integrated global health enterprise; operating more than 20 academic, community and specialty hospitals and employing more than 3,000 physicians," according to Highmark's statement.
First Published October 11, 2012 4:19 pm