Maine has always been a wonderful place to live, raise a family, and retire. For generations, Mainers have experienced this first-hand. Unfortunately, healthcare costs, and especially hospital costs (which in 2019 were the fourth highest in the U.S.), have made life in Maine more expensive and more difficult.
This is particularly true in rural communities throughout our state, where hospital consolidation has left Mainers with dwindling options, as large corporate hospital systems have moved in and gobbled up the competition, forcing already vulnerable populations to pay higher and higher prices for the care they need.
As these hospital systems have gotten larger, they’ve exploited their size to bend the market to serve their purposes, demanding higher prices in their negotiations with health plans and driving up costs for Maine families and employers.
One of the ways they do this is through all-or-nothing contracts, which force health plans to include every facility and provider in their network. Even when there are more affordable, quality options available, Mainers are forced to seek care from that hospital system’s chosen provider or facility.
Hospital monopolies are disastrous for our state, taking us further away from affordability and forcing patients to go to increasingly more expensive facilities for increasingly more expensive care. Maine’s legislators need to curb these large, corporate hospital systems’ anti-competitive behavior by banning all-or-nothing contracts to better empower Maine’s healthcare market to drive competition and affordability.
Opinion pieces reflect the views of the individual author, and do not reflect the views of the Daily Bulldog, Mt. Blue TV, or Central Maine Media Alliance. Publication of an opinion piece does not equate to endorsement of the content of the piece.