As attorney general in California, Kamala Harris in 2012 initiated an antitrust investigation into hospitals' high charges. But as a senator and presidential candidate, she has been largely silent on the issue -- as have all the other candidates.
As Uwe Reinhardt, the revered Princeton health economist who died in 2017, told me, "If you want to save money, you have to pay less." That means taking on hospital pricing.
So fine, go after drugmakers and insurers. And, for good measure, attack the device makers who profit from huge markups, and the pharmacy benefit managers -- the middlemen who negotiate drug prices down for insurers, then keep the difference for themselves.
But with Congress returning to Washington and the next Democratic debate this week, our elected officials need to address the elephant in the room and tell us how they plan to rein in hospital excesses.
(Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.)
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