Monopoly is a huge factor in driving up prices and driving down quality in America’s health care sector. After waves of hospital mergers, most Americans now live in communities where only one or two hospitals still compete for their health care dollars, and where competition among health care insurers has also largely disappeared. Meanwhile, competition in the pharmaceutical industry is stymied by patent monopolies and highly concentrated corporate ownership.
Open Markets Institute released The Role of Monopoly in America’s Prescription Drug Crisis on December 9, 2019. This new white paper exposes how big pharma drives up drug costs through patent monopolies, abuses of regulations, and corporate consolidation. These forms of monopoly thwart competition, stifle innovation, cause drug shortages, and decrease drug safety. We offer policy solutions for lawmakers and regulators to rein in the outrageous drug prices facing Americans.
Open Markets published a report on December 2, 2019, on the role of hospitals in America’s health care crisis. An often-overlooked factor behind high prices for medical services is the increasing corporate concentration of ownership, particularly among hospitals. Hospital consolidation should be a standard part of health policy discussion, particularly if proposals to move to a single-payer system gain steam. In this report we outline the challenges and solutions to concentration in hospital markets.
Open Markets Health Care Researcher and Reporter Olivia Webb writes on The American Prospect about how investment firms have bought up emergency medical service companies, squeezing soaring profits from vulnerable patients. “The Great Recession created an opportunity to financialize the practice of lifesaving emergency transport,” she writes. “After 2008, a number of private equity firms moved to take over ambulance and air ambulance providers.”
Benefits Pro reporter Scott Woolridge reports that the consolidation of market share in health-related industries has happened largely under the radar. He cites Open Markets’ American Concentration Crisis report and interviews Executive Director Barry Lynn on how consolidation is impacting every day Americans. “This stuff could be fixed by the DOJ and the FTC tomorrow,” he says. “There is an ample amount of power in federal and state governments to address this, it’s just not being used.”
Welcome to The Corner. In this issue, we highlight a powerful dissent in the Federal Trade Commission’s settlement with Facebook, discuss why the Trump Administration’s new hospital pricing rule won’t fix American healthcare, and identify three key takeaways from last week’s House subcommittee hearing on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
Axios reporter Sam Baker publishes an exclusive report on Open Markets’ second volume of concentration data looking at consolidation in healthcare-related industry sectors. “America’s health care crisis is brought you by monopoly,” Open Markets policy director Phil Longman told Axios.