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Expert: Hospitals' 'humongous monopoly' drives prices high

Kaiser Health News, March 5, 2013

The American Enterprise Institute didn't plan its panel last week on hospital consolidation to coincide with Steve Brill's much-talked-about Time magazine article on hospital prices. But the Friday session could have taken the piece, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, as its text. Participants mentioned it several times. The basic message, delivered at the pro-markets AEI by prominent economic and legal scholars, is that the hospital market is broken and may not be fixable by the health law or other attempts at reform. They blamed much of the high price of health care on mergers over the past 30 years that have given hospitals "oligopoly" power to charge prices far higher than what would exist with more competition.