Basically, what’s happening is that doctors – looking for stability, which is easily the least reliable quality of Obamacare right now – are ending their private practices and going back to hospitals. The problem there? Well, as the New York Times notes (through gritted teeth), hospitals are using this as an opportunity to increase fees, not efficiency (which would hopefully lower them). The NYT is hopeful – somehow – that the system will work itself out under Obamacare; alas, we all know what happens when the government decides to deal with the problems arising from governmental distortion of markets with more distortion of the markets, yes-no?
Anyway, Walter Russell Mead notes:
Absorbing private practices is just one more way hospitals can make themselves bigger and more powerful. The market power of hospitals relative to insurers is already one of the most pernicious market imbalances in U.S. health care. This trend will only make it even less balanced. The bigger hospitals get, the more they can jack up their prices—up to 44 percent higher according to one estimate.
Pace Mechanic, this isn’t just a short-term problem. The more doctors start working in hospitals, the less sustainable our current health care system looks in the long term.
…Our current health care system is sustainable? Because it’s been looking pretty freaking rickety since about, oh, 2009 or so.
PS: NO REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR OBAMACARE.