If you imagined America has a free market in medicine, read “Diagnosis: opaque: Donald Trump wants hospitals to be more upfront about prices”:
The country has over 6,000 hospitals. Only 1,300 or so are private for-profit institutions; the rest are non-profit or government-run. The lack of an overt profit motive has done little to rein in prices, however. Hospital costs have risen at an annual rate of close to 5%, compared with below 1% for drug prices. … Nor has a charitable mission dampened the ambition of bosses at big hospital chains; seven-figure salaries are not unheard of at those with revenues exceeding $500m a year. They have also been on an acquisition binge. The number of deals has jumped from around 55 a year between 2002 and 2009 to 90 or more these days. Since 2018 non-profit hospitals have been the acquirers in three-quarters of the transactions.
How do government-run or subsidized hospitals engage in the capitalistic act of mergers? They do so on the backs of taxpayers. Profits are privatized; losses are socialized. This is the stuff of cronyism.
Free market medicine we do not have. Before Coronavirus, Trump was looking to reform the nation’s hospitals.