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Media Advisory: May 5, 2002

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Nicholas Provenzo
Phone
: (703) 625-3296

Free the Napa Valley Six

Alexandria, VA — The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (CAC) has submitted public comment in the case of In re Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Corporation of Napa Valley, et al., (OGMC) which the Federal Trade Commission is expected to approve a final settlement. CAC filed comments opposing the proposed “consent order” in the case, calling the FTC’s actions unconstitutional and a violation of the rights of the six Napa County, California, obstetricians whose attempts to collectively bargain led the Commission to file an antitrust complaint.

“This case represents the government at its worst—prosecuting innocent citizens whose only ‘crime’ is attempting to assert their right to freely negotiate fees paid in exchange for their medical skills,” says CAC’s Sean Oliva, who wrote the Center’s comments.

The FTC’s complaint charged OGMC, a California corporation, and six obstetrician-gynecologists who constitute the company’s members with illegal price fixing for their attempt to collectively bargain with local insurance companies. Under the proposed settlement, the six doctors are effectively prevented from engaging in any collective bargaining activity for a period of 20 years and OGMC will be forcibly dissolved.

            Provenzo said the government was trying to destroy competition rather than preserve it. “Competition can only exist in a marketplace where all parties are free of government coercion. This is a case where the FTC is trying to fix outcomes by making it impossible for doctors to negotiate in their own self-interest.”  

Provenzo noted that this case was not an isolated incident. “The FTC has already persecuted gynecologists in Georgia for doing what the ‘Napa Valley Six’ did, and this comes on the heels of the Commission’s persistent opposition to attempts by at least five state legislatures to grant physicians even limited collective bargaining rights. In all these actions, the FTC is harming the public interest, not protecting it, by prosecuting innocent citizens who have committed no crime.”

According to Oliva, only Congress will be able to prevent future abuses of power by the FTC against physicians. “Congress now has before it a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Barr-H.R. 3897-that would begin the process of ending the FTC’s war on physicians. While this bill is far from perfect, serious consideration of the measure would begin a public debate on the issue of physician economic rights, a debate the FTC has done everything in its power to prevent from even taking place.”

A copy of the CAC comment letter in PDF format can be downloaded at: http://www.moraldefense.com/Campaigns/Antitrust/CAC_Comment_on_OGMC.pdf

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The mission of The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism is to present to the public a moral defense of individualism and economic freedom. The Center undertakes projects and activities designed to communicate its message to the public, the press, and policy leaders, targeting issues central to a moral defense of laissez-faire capitalism.


Copyright © 2002 The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism
PO Box 16325
Alexandria, VA 22302-8325, USA
Voice: (703) 625-3296 · Fax: (703) 997-1433



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