Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monopoly Status of Health Management Organizations

I am happy that the Democrats have decided to go after the monopoly status of Health Management Companies. The current system allows these massive firms to engage in anti-market activities (like price fixing) to maintain and grow their market share.

The anti-trust movement is the first thing in the health care debate that I believe could lead to a better health care system.

As you see, the trust status of HMOs break the pricing mechanism. The broken pricing mechanism means that a person paying cash for medical services often pays three times more for the service than the HMO. They are often paying ten times the maginal cost of the service.

It is the trust status of the HMOs and not the inherent weakness of the Free Market that has created the dynamic where people are denied access to care.

I could insert a discussion on the difference between the free market and capitalism here ... instead, I want to address a puzzling issue.

The puzzling issue is that this attack against health monopolies happened in the 11th hour of the debate and as a reaction to the insurance industry's publishing a scathing critique of the Baucus bill.

The bills prior to this time were carefully tip-toeing around the trust status.

The modern progressive is not opposed to monopolies. The Marxian model essentially has companies form into monopolies, when this process is complete, a revolutionary change movement will flank the monopolies and role them up into state owned enterprises.

A few decades ago, when I was in health care, the progressives were the ones actively encouranging the development of the massive Health Maintenance Organization that dominates the medical landscape today. In other words, the people who are trying to change the horrid health monopolies of day are of the same ilk as the ones who built it.

This eleventh hour attack on the trust status of HMOs is quite interesting.

It really appears as if the administration is falling into the bunker mantality where in they have defined enemies and friends and are devising their health care system around the base notion that it should reward friends and punish enemies.

This game of having friends and enemies appears to be the nature of man. Throughout the whole of Western history one finds political leaders rallying the folks against perceived enemies. The wicked discrepency in income is often traced directly to actions taken by a government that set aside one group as friends and another as the enemy.

As I watch the health care disaster unfold, my poor little brain reels with the question .... why would anyone want their health care resources controlled by the political class that will seek to redistribute care from the enemies list to the friends list?

To end this post, I found a great example of projection below:

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