Blue Cross Blue Shield asks Michigan court to dismiss antitrust lawsuit

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on Friday asked a federal court in Michigan to dismiss a government lawsuit that alleges the health insurer violated antitrust laws by requiring that hospitals offer Blue Cross members the best rates.

Blue Cross says the government's case "makes no sense" and would lead to higher healthcare costs — precisely the opposite of what the new healthcare reform law seeks to accomplish.

The motion to dismiss argues the insurer is protected from federal antitrust lawsuits by 70 years of Supreme Court precedent that gives deference to state regulation. In addition, the motion claims the federal government failed to meet the requirements for filing an antitrust suit because it didn't cite any specific economic harm caused by anticompetitive behaviors in specific geographic markets or with specific products.

The case, filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, is Civil Action No. 10-cv-14155-DPH-MKM.