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Breaking the Law to Help Hospital Gorillas Get Bigger

By: Dr. Bharani Padmanabhan – Nov. 2017

Caring doctors are an easy mark. They come into medicine because they are softies and spend their lives staying soft. This endears them to their patients but makes them easy targets for the corrupt sociopaths who run certain state medical boards these days.

Consider 84 year old Dr. Anna Konopka of New London, NH, who still helped patients, hands on, without subjecting them to the bureaucratic time-suck that vitiates “care” in bigger places, such as ‘death by a 1000 clicks’ or ‘scripted speech to improve patient satisfaction scores.’

Dr. Konopka ran a simple traditional practice where the doctor-patient relationship is sacrosanct, a practice where the whole patient is the sole priority and the maximum charge for anything is $50 total.

Naturally, her patients adore her.

Naturally, bureaucrats within the NH state board destroyed her in the absence of a single patient complaint or any harm to individual patients, ever.
Naturally, softies being softies, Dr. Konopka folded without a fight and lost her license.

Now, all of us normal people find that odd because we suffer from the delusion that state boards are agencies that are paid by us, exist only to protect us from bad apples and otherwise leave learned professionals to do it. Folks who work at the agencies disagree. Over the years they have accumulated absolute power and are absolutely corrupt.

In a classic example of doing well by doing bad, these bureaucrats monetize their power by renting it to gorillas targeting softies who aren’t part of bigger hospital systems. The NH Union Leader reported: “She has been under attack for four years, she said; she believes New London Hospital wants her patients.”

Big gorillas easily rent the powers of a state agency by bribing the failures running them, people who couldn’t cut it in the private sector. And how did the gorillas get this big in the first place?

Because Dr. Lucian Leape provided the false intellectual excuse to support massive consolidation of hospital networks by claiming it is needed ‘to pay for expensive electronic medical record systems to prevent errors.’ The Leape excuse is used to justify massive Sherman Act violations even after the Texas Ebola failure exposed this lie.
This month Phillip Longman published a scary report on what this scam has achieved:

“A massive wave of corporate consolidations has transformed the American health care delivery system in ways that make the single-payer approach highly problematic. Most Americans now live in places where there is little or no competition among medical providers. In market after market, hospitals, clinics, physician practices, labs, and other key health care infrastructure have been merged into monopolies controlling nearly all aspects of health care in the areas in which they operate.

Switching to single-payer wouldn’t, on its own, address the fact that the lack of competition leaves these Goliaths with almost no pressure to keep costs down. Since medical monopolies are becoming too big for either party to challenge, a single-payer, Medicare-for-all-type plan would likely degenerate into super-high-cost corporate welfare, rather than achieving lower prices or improved quality. The only sure way to avoid that outcome would be to simultaneously enact aggressive antitrust and pro-competition policies to bust up the monopolies and oligopolies that now dominate health care delivery in nearly every community in America.”

Absent Sherman Act enforcement, corrupt bureaucrats shall continue to rent their state powers out to powerful gorillas in order to destroy the few independent, patient-centered doctors we still have left. Economists are unanimous that rent-seeking is terrible for us all and promotes economic inequality.

Progressives who screech about their passion to reduce inequality and promote social justice fall silent when the Sherman Act needs to be enforced on hospital Goliaths and their purchased bureaucrats.

I emailed the person who has been pursuing Dr. Konopka, Penny Taylor (penny.taylor@oplc.nh.gov), to request government documents and will report her response, if any, in my next column.

NHPR reported that 10 patients showed up this week at Merrimack Superior to support Dr. Konopka. We pray the Judge cares about them and us all.

ValleyPatriot

ValleyPatriot

The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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One Response to Breaking the Law to Help Hospital Gorillas Get Bigger

  1. Susan Cummings Reply

    November 30, 2017 at 2:26 PM

    Awesome piece.

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