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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

March 9, 2010

HEALTH INSURERS HAVE HUGE MONOPOLIES

PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN - The AMA's most recent look at the health insurance market - "Competition in health insurance: A comprehensive study of U.S. markets," released Feb. 23 and based on 2009 data - finds that 99% of 313 metropolitan areas tracked would be considered to have "highly concentrated" insurance markets under guidelines used by the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. In its 2009 version of the study, the AMA found that 94% of metropolitan areas were ranked "highly concentrated."

One insurer held 70% or more of the health plan market share in 24 of 43 states measured, up from 18 in 42 states in the previous year's study. In 92% of the 313 markets in the report, one insurer held at least a 30% share.

In past releases of its survey, the AMA has noted that insurer market dominance has allowed health plans to force physicians into take-it-or-leave-it contracts. But this year the AMA - echoing other experts - noted that market dominance has allowed plans to give patients take-it-or-leave-it pricing.


The health insurance companies have had an exemption from anti-trust laws since World War II. The House healthcare bill would end it.


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