Yesterday, I discussed the idea of managed competition in California. One of the original tenets of managed competition was insurers having integrated, mutually exclusive provider networks. This would mean much more consolidation on the provider side. While this could improve quality, there is also a risk that prices could rise. In fact, this is what has occurred according to an article by Scheffler, Arnold and Whaley (2018):
The percentage of physicians in practices owned by a hospital increased from about 25 percent in 2010 to more than 40 percent in 2016. The estimated impact of the increase in vertical integration from 2013 to 2016 in highly concentrated hospital markets was found to be associated with a 12 percent increase in Marketplace premiums. For physician outpatient services, the increase in vertical integration was also associated with a 9 percent increase in specialist prices and a 5 percent increase in primary care prices.
In the same article in Health Affairs, there is also some interesting Datagraphics providing interesting statistics on health care in California.