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Blame Season in the Healthcare Sector

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, December 3, 2012

Earlier last week, the American Medical Association issued its annual report detailing what it says is a widespread lack of competition among health insurers across the nation.

"The new data demonstrate that most areas of the country have a single health insurer with an anticompetitive share of the market," AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, said in a media release.

The lack of competition among insurers, AMA says, has resulted in increased premiums, watered-down benefits, and increased insurers' profitability, which the physicians' association says demonstrates that highly concentrated markets harm patients and physicians.

AHIP immediately fired back with its own counter-claim that consolidations among hospitals and physician groups were the main culprit driving higher costs.

"Families and employers in every state have multiple choices of both insurance plans and types of coverage. Moreover, research clearly demonstrates that provider consolidation—not concentration of health plan markets—is driving up healthcare costs for consumers and employers," AHIP said in the statement.

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