FTC’s regulatory overreach attacking private equity

Along with his tax and spending increases, President Joe Biden has imposed a massive regulatory burden on the economy. According to one report, the Biden administration has imposed $470 billion in regulatory costs through as many as 800 new rules, burying the private economy in new regulations and red tape.

While independent regulators are supposed to be nonpartisan and impartial, the Biden administration has filled the government with extreme regulators committed to attacking the private sector and promoting an extreme partisan agenda.

The prime example of an extreme regulator is Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan, who has established a pattern of regulatory zeal, attacking free markets and abusing her power. She has launched dozens of lawsuits, investigations, and regulatory actions against America’s most successful companies.

Her most recent extreme regulatory overreach is her effort to block private equity investment in healthcare and to block private equity from testifying about it.

The FTC recently hosted a virtual public workshop on private equity in healthcare. The commission said it held the event because it had “growing concerns” about the “harmful effects” of private equity investments in the healthcare sector.

The private equity industry has a great story to tell, and it should have been invited to testify at the FTC event. Private equity has been a major source of private capital supporting hospital systems, outpatient clinics, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical device innovation, and other life-saving initiatives. The industry has raised nearly $73 billion to improve healthcare in America and could have provided the FTC with a compelling report.

But instead of getting insights from the industry, the FTC only heard from a totally one-sided list of speakers who were highly critical of private equity. Although the FTC says it requests feedback from the public on all agency initiatives, it did not allow a single speaker who could discuss the positive benefits of private equity in the healthcare industry. Instead, the public workshop was stacked against the private sector, with speeches from four partisan Biden administration officials and two panels of academics and other critics of private equity investments.

Khan opened the event by declaring the commission was going to “take on corporate profiteering in healthcare” and announced a new government investigation into the “impact of corporate greed in healthcare.” Khan’s unfair and extreme attack on the private equity industry totally ignores the work the industry has done to support quality, affordable healthcare in the United States and to finance the development of new innovations.

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One example is the role private equity has played in the development of the medical devices industry, one of the most successful industries in the world. Private equity has invested more than $125 billion in more than 870 medical device manufacturers in the past decade, supporting the development of innovative, life-changing devices that have improved patients’ treatment and care and saved countless lives.

These are the kind of stories that Khan does not want to hear, stories that show that private equity investments are, in fact, improving healthcare in America. Congress needs to use its oversight authority to curb this type of extreme regulatory overreach and attacks on America’s private economy.

Bruce Thompson was a Senate aide, an assistant secretary of Treasury for legislative affairs, and the director of government relations for Merrill Lynch for 22 years.

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