NC says major Charlotte health care system drove up costs illegally

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – The state of North Carolina is suing the major health care system in Charlotte, claiming Carolinas HealthCare System sought to reduce competition and drive up costs.

“Pushing medical costs artificially higher and limiting choices harms North Carolina families,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Consumers who need health care deserve accurate information and access to quality, affordable options.”

Cooper filed suit Thursday, his office said in a news release.  The state contends that Carolinas HealthCare System illegally reduces competition in the health care market in Charlotte and limits consumers’ ability to shop around for better deals on health care. The state said the case was filed jointly with the US Department of Justice in US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

CHS, which is based in Charlotte, operates Carolinas Medical Center and nine other hospitals in the Charlotte area, the state said.

The Attorney General’s office said CHS has 50 percent of the Charlotte market and approximately $8.7 billion in annual revenues.

The lawsuit alleges that CHS blocks consumers from receiving information about the cost and quality of CHS services.

“We tell consumers to shop around for the best quality and price, and health care should be no different,” Cooper said. “Competition is good for business and good for customers, including in the health care industry.”

Carolinas HealthCare did not comment immediately on its website or on Twitter.

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