Antitrust lawyers say doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and drug makers will be running huge legal risks if they get together and agree on a strategy to hold down prices and reduce the growth of health spending.
Robert F. Leibenluft, a former official at the Federal Trade Commission, said, “Any agreement among competitors with regard to prices or price increases — even if they set a maximum — would raise legal concerns” [Robert Pear, "Antitrust Laws a Hurdle to Health Care Overhaul," New York Times, 2009.05.26].
Oops. Sounds like all the more reason Congress needs to reject the medical-industrial complex's false promises and either include a public plan in this year's health care reform to give the profiteers some real competition or just go whole hog and create the kind of single-payer system that keeps costs down worldwide. Private insurers are already stifling competition and making it harder for doctors to get paid than the government does. Instead of risking even worse profiteering collusion from the big insurers, let's turn to a more rational, public not-for-profit system, just like we do with other vital services like schools, police, and fire departments.