Bob Goodlatte: Healthy competition needed in healthcare marketplace

goodlattefourinCompetition is at the center of the American economy. It helps promote a healthy and favorable market for consumers. It forces businesses to perform at their highest and best level, working for the consumers, not against them. One of the principal tenets of economics is that competition can lead to lower prices, enhanced product and service variety, greater innovation, and overall more consumer choices and access.

The healthcare industry, though unique, is not immune to this basic principle. More health care and health insurance options for patients oftentimes results in better, more affordable, personalized care.

The issue of choice in the healthcare marketplace is not new. Unfortunately, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 has left many, including myself, even more concerned about the additional negative impacts on competition within the hospital, insurance, pharmaceutical, medical equipment, physician, and other healthcare marketplaces. The trend we’ve seen under this law is that insurance policies have been forced to become more similar, physicians have found it even more difficult to operate independent practices, and medical suppliers are facing more federal regulations. Americans are already starting to see their medical bills rise, the quality of their care becoming diminished, and their options for care becoming more limited.

I’ve been concerned about this law’s impact on the healthcare industry from the start, and the House Judiciary Committee has launched a series of hearings on the state of competition across the healthcare marketplace. The next hearing will take place on Tuesday, September 29th at 2PM on the proposed mergers between the health insurance companies Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna. These proposed mergers will directly affect over 85 million Americans. Watch it live on Judiciary.House.Gov.

I hope you’ll tune into next week’s hearing as we continue to examine competition in the healthcare marketplace.

Bob Goodlatte represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.

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