Should We Serve the Economy or Should the Economy Serve Us?

Let’s talk about the destruction of the American economy — mergers and acquisitions style.

As The New York Times points out, back in 1994, Massachusetts allowed its two most prestigious hospitals — Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital — to merge.

The two hospitals came together to form Partners HealthCare, and according to investigations by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, that merger meant health care started to get really expensive for the people of Massachusetts.

The merger gave the two hospitals incredible market power, allowing them to drive up healthcare costs in the Boston area.

Today, Partners HealthCare is the largest health care provider system in Massachusetts, with over 6,000 doctors and 2,800 beds across its various medical centers and hospitals. And it’s looking to get bigger and more powerful.

An investigation by the Massachusetts state legislature found that Partners HealthCare’s plan to acquire South Shore Hospital outside of Boston would drive up total health care spending in the region even higher, by up to $26 million per year and maybe more.

Because when you own a market, when you’re close to having a monopoly, you can charge whatever you want. People have very limited choices about anyplace else to go.

The situation that the people of Massachusetts are facing with Partners HealthCare is the perfect example of how destructive market-dominating corporations can be to our economy and the marketplace.

Basically, in order for an economy and marketplace to work for everyone, there have to be rules in place that facilitate competition, because competition is essential in a free market economy. You can’t have virtual monopolies in commerce. It’s that simple.

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