I agree with several points made by Douglas Rooks in his Sept. 14 column entitled, “Hospitals are also part of the healthcare dilemma.” It’s time for meaningful reform in our health care system.

We all agree that health care costs in Maine, like the rest of the nation, have continued to soar. One aspect that has increased those costs unnecessarily, as Rooks points out, is the consolidation of hospitals throughout Maine. When hospitals consolidate and become monopolistic, costs go up for consumers.

One way hospital monopolies increase costs is through anticompetitive contracts that force insurers to include every facility in that hospitals’ system in their network. What this means is that hospitals force patients to use their facilities, providers, or services even when there are more affordable or higher quality options available. By limiting consumer choice in this way, hospitals are able to artificially increase their own bottom lines at consumers’ expense.

Legislators should allow health plans to create provider networks that best fit their customers’ needs and budgets. We need to continue to work together to find a solution to the rising cost of health care in Maine to ensure that those most vulnerable in our communities still have the access to the care they need.

Catherine Nadeau


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