Health Care Monopoly

If there is a health care reform bill, it will most likely further entrench the health care monopolies,especially the Blue Cross system and the Big Pharma patent controls. This from Dylan Ratigan at Huffington Post makes that point clear:

Why is health insurance the only business that has an exemption from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act other than Major League Baseball? . . .

Through the governmental negligence that we as voters allowed, a health care system was created in which a single health care company controls at least 30 percent of the insurance market in 95% of the country, including states like the following:

Maine, where Wellpoint controls 71% of the market.
North Dakota, where Blue Cross controls 90% of the market.
Arkansas, where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 75% of the market.
Alabama, where Blue Cross Blue Shield controls 83% of the market.

This monopoly, combined with the misaligned incentives that trap people in employer-based health care, is causing the skyrocketing health care costs that are hurtling our nation towards bankruptcy.

I don’t know what’s worse: that most Republicans seem to be against ending this unfair legal protection for an entrenched industry that is ruining our country with their non-competitive practices, or that most Democrats seem to be threatening this arrangement only as a bargaining chip to push for a meaningless public option that wouldn’t be accessible to almost 85% of the population?

Instead of improving our country, through creating and enforcing free and fair markets, our politicians are currently engaging in backroom deals, most of which protect the very companies who profit the most from these disastrous outdated systems — industries like health insurance and big Pharma.

2 responses to “Health Care Monopoly

  1. Pingback: Empty Threats to the Health Insurance Industry « Unsilent Generation

  2. This isn’t anything new, unfortunately. As early as 1910 the writing was on the wall for this sort of thing. When cocaine, opium and morphine were made controlled substances requiring a prescription.
    An unholy partnership was formed by the AMA and the Pharmaceutical industry to address this issue.
    The AMA at the time had designs on creating a ‘medical’ monopoly a design they apparently retain to this day given their historically illegal and ethically challenged behavior particularly with regard to non-pharmaceutical oriented health care professions.

    Both industries with the passing of the anti-trust laws required the services of the other simply to survive. Alone the Pharm might have retooled and found a new niche market. The AMA was not doing so well because of the proliferation of the Osteopathic profession and the newly discovered Chiropratic professions. Both professions were providing better results than the MD of the era because of the MDs neolithic ideas about health care. Bloodletting was still the norm(a practice that originated in medieval times) and the greatest advances in medicine at t his time were speedier amputations and growing mutton chop whiskers.

    Even washing hands was considered beneath the dignity of the MD. The doctor who discovered that washing hands decreased his death rate by pelvic inflammatory disease by 80 percent, was scoffed at and drummed out of the medical profession for daring to ‘question’ accepted wisdom. He died penniless and insane, go figure. It was this limited thinking that led to the medical professions challenges prior to 1910. Once the Pharmaceutical industry approached them with the idea being that they would have a mutually beneficial partnership and create the ‘monopoly’ the AMA had been seeking but was losing against the OD and DC professions.

    Together they controlled everything, separately they would not have been able to survive. As a result the egotism of the AMA has proliferated into a dangerous and woefully ignorant profession convinced of its superiority to better trained and more thoughtful professionals..who do not have a death rate nearly as prolific as the medical professions. Yet, it is the smarter and better trained albeit poorly funded professionals who get the black eye.

    It is time the AMA become a museum piece.

    Dr. B

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