News from the Corporate State

I have argued for a while that Obama is building a European-style corporate state, where a troika of powerful government officials, unions, and the largest corporations run the country for their own benefit.  As far as the economy is concerned, this means legislation that cements the position of large, powerful competitors against smaller competitors or future upstarts.  You can see this in Europe, where for decades the list of largest corporations seldom turns over, as they have entrenched themselves in government to protect their position  (description of the model in more depth here).

Here is today's episode, from the Obamacare law:

Under the headline, "Construction Stops at Physician Hospitals," Politico reports today that "Physician Hospitals of America says that construction had to stop at 45 hospitals nationwide or they would not be able to bill Medicare for treatments." Stopping construction at doctor-owned hospitals might not seem like the best way to boost the economy or to promote greater access and choice in health care, but that exactly what Obamacare is doing.

Kenneth Artz of the Heartland Institute explains, "Section 6001 of the health care law effectively bans new physician-owned hospitals (POHs) from starting up, and it keeps existing ones from expanding." Politico adds, "Friday [New Year's Eve] marked the last day physician-owned hospitals could get Medicare certification covering their new or expanded hospitals, one of the latest provisions of the reform law to go into effect."

This little-noticed but particularly egregious aspect of Obamacare is, by all accounts, a concession to the powerful American Hospital Association (AHA), a supporter of Obamacare, which prefers to have its member hospitals operate without competition from hospitals owned by doctors.

  • me

    European corporate states can be pretty neat. That said, the same approach would never work in the US. Too much partisanship (I just ran smack into a few examples of folks from the home country falling over themselves to consider the other sides view and be excessively fair). Libertarianism is the only way forward for the States; sadly, we diverge more from that path every day.