Smith Economist's Book Challenges Growing
Monopoly Power of Doctors, Hospitals and Insurers
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- While many factors
are contributing to Americans' dramatically increasing health-care costs,
the influence of consolidation and anticompetitive practices has not
been well understood.
"Managed Care and Monopoly Power: The
Antitrust Challenge" (Harvard University Press), a timely book by
Deborah Haas-Wilson, professor of economics at Smith College, provides
a roadmap for using antitrust laws to promote competition and value in
"America's antitrust laws, when wisely
enforced, permit markets to work competitively and, therefore, efficiently," Haas-Wilson
explains. "Competitive markets foster low prices and high quality.
But the line that distinguishes anticompetitive behavior from procompetitive
behavior is changing rapidly.
"By understanding the economic concepts
essential to enforcement of the antitrust laws in health-care markets," Haas-Wilson
argues, "people ranging from concerned health-care consumers to
economists, lawyers and health policymakers can discern the delicate
line between health-care conduct and consolidations that should be allowed
because consumers will be made better off and those that should be challenged
because consumers will be hurt."
One of few books to address issues at the
confluence of health policy, economic theory and antitrust law, "Managed
Care and Monopoly Power," in the words of one reviewer, "makes
a convincing argument for a principled, economics-based health-care antitrust
policy. Everyone with an interest in health policy, health economics
or antitrust should read this book. "
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