Friday, June 29, 2018

South Dakotans voicing frustration with medical industry oligopoly

Socialized agriculture, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service and socialized freight rail but Kristi Noem and Howdy Doody Dusty Johnson insist single-payer medical insurance is socialism.

Despite extensive hype from South Dakota's First Lady child obesity and infant mortality rates have risen again in the chemical toilet yet Sanford, Avera and Rapid City Regional enjoy virtual medical industry monopolies in their markets making South Dakota the most lucrative state to practice medicine.

Democratic Congressional candidate Tim Bjorkman says he hears most often about rising medical costs from the people he meets in South Dakota. He says mental health issues and addiction are having a direct impact on the workforce blaming Governor Denny Daugaard for turning down Medicaid expansion in a state where voters are frustrated with the status quo.
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia require insurance commissioners to file some kind of personal financial disclosure report. All but two of those jurisdictions — Hawaii and Vermont — make the documents available for public inspection. Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming have no such disclosure requirements. [Drinks, dinners, junkets and jobs: how the insurance industry courts state commissioners]
Republicans in the US Senate hate everything about Barack Obama but they hate American Indians even more. Mike Rounds, Steve Daines, John Thune, Mike Crapo and James Risch have introduced the so-called Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act to exempt white contractors working on reservations from a mandate enshrined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Two of South Dakota's earth hater delegation receive their medical benefits from Obamacare. Rep. Kristi Noem has a full ride and Sen. John Thune is on the DC HealthLink Obamacare exchange.

Mike Rounds is cutting a fat hog on insurance costs.
“We are obviously concerned about the impact that Wellmark’s decision will have on consumers,” South Dakota Insurance Director Larry Deiter told the Public Opinion this week. “The current environment under federal health care reform is causing companies to either raise premiums, narrow networks, or cease marketing of products.” Lonnie McKittrick, who heads up the Health Department at Fisher Rounds and Associates, echoed those comments. “ACA is just not working,” he said. “People are getting hammered. Everybody on the inside knew this is what could happen. You crossed your fingers and hoped it wouldn’t, but it did. It’s a system that was set up to fail, especially in a small state like ours.” [Looking for health insurance? Good luck]
If policy makers had any balls whatsoever they’d bring legislation that would compel the medical industry to post the costs for all procedures.

So if these hospitals are monopolies like utilities are, or even oligopolies in their markets, why isn't there a voter-elected public commission to regulate pricing?

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