WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is questioning a monopoly on hospital services in southwestern Georgia.
The justices on Monday heard arguments in the federal government's claim that two private corporations used a public hospital authority to complete a deal that left one company as the owner of the only two hospitals in Albany, Ga. The Federal Trade Commission says the deal violates federal antitrust law.
The question at the high court is whether an exception in antitrust law for actions taken by a state or its agencies - in this case, the hospital authority - shields the transaction from federal concerns.
Lower federal courts allowed Albany's Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital to buy Palmyra Medical Center from Hospital Corporation of America over the FTC's objection.