BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A hearing is underway on a move by the Federal Trade Commission and the North Dakota Attorney General's Office to block the proposed merger of Dakotas-based Sanford Health and Bismarck's Mid Dakota Clinic.

Regulators filed a federal complaint in June, saying a merger would violate antitrust law. They want a judge to stop it until a formal FTC hearing later this month in Washington.

The health care entities dispute that a merger could lead to higher costs for consumers. They say the regulators' arguments ignore market dynamics.

The Bismarck Tribune reports that a four-day hearing began Monday in Bismarck.

Sanford Health was formed in 2009 when South Dakota-based Sanford merged with North Dakota-based MeritCare. Sanford now bills itself as one of the largest health systems in the nation.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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