An excellent article by Washington Monthly’s Eric Cortellessa described a Senate antitrust hearing focused on hospital and health care system consolidation.
Believe it or not, the problems created by hospital consolidation have brought bipartisanship to the Senate, with arch-conservative Josh Hawley and liberal icon Richard Blumenthal agreeing that consolidation is bad.
Hawley opined”private equity and their [sic] intervention here is actually helping drive consolidation in a way that is unhealthy in this industry and can be particularly harmful for rural communities…”
Blumenthal: “incentives and self-interest of the private equity funds drive the finances rather than respect and care for the patients who are there or the professional staff who ensure quality care.”
It’s not just private equity – most consolidation is driven by massive health care systems looking to dominate markets and thereby control pricing. And that’s exactly what happens. According to chair Amy Klobuchar, “hospital prices are 12 percent higher in monopoly markets compared to those with four or more competing hospitals.”
What does this mean for you?