By: Jeremy Morris, Associate Editor, USDR
Big businesses may spend enormous sums to purchase political favors—such as laws or regulation to mandate purchase of their products or to hamstring their competition, writes G. Keith Smith, M.D., cofounder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, in the fall 2013 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
“Creating almost impenetrable webs of lies to cover their true purpose is part of the political game, a game usually played in the name of our ‘well-being’ or ‘safety,'” he states. So how does one know what to look for?
Smith suggests that industry consolidation is the “smoking gun.” He notes that rural hospitals are disappearing, while big city corporate hospitals are bringing in record revenues. One nonprofit (“not show a profit”) system is planning to spend $4.2 billion on a building campaign.
Big pharmaceutical companies are another example. Using problems at the New England Compounding Center, Inc., as a rationale, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing legislation to vastly expand its powers to regulate (read “close,” says Smith) compounding pharmacies. This means his surgical center will have to pay eight times as much for a brand name version of the anesthesia enhancing hyaluronidase product that compounders have supplied without difficulty for years.
Small hospitals or pharmacies simply cannot afford to comply with costly though clinically unnecessary government requirements demanded by mega-corporations, Smith points out.
Government policy is responsible for enabling ruinous hospital bills that bankrupt uninsured patients, Smith explains. The answer, he says, is not to “make sure everyone has insurance so these companies can make even more money.”
Rather, we need open discussion about prices—and an end to collusion of big business and big government that eliminates competition.