The Occasional Perspective - 12/7/22

Opinions and Reflections

Shining Light On Dark Money – One of the elements I’ve cherished over the years from the 1960s onward when I became more cognizant of “issues” and “policy” in the US was the relatively open nature of information availability. Due to the transparency, the tragedy of the Vietnam War, the Watergate affair, the secret funding of regimes in Latin America, the impact of the withdrawal of US troops from various conflicts and the like have all been considered within the context of an open society questioning what the heck was going on…and, why? Now we learn that DonorsTrust – a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt charity received two separate anonymous gifts totaling more than $425 million dollars. The information was uncovered by POLITICO. In fact, the group brought in more than $1 billion in 2021. The problem with these funds is that it creates an ongoing opaque financing of the political ecosystem. It is groups like DonorsTrust that are becoming the conduits for funds from high net worth individuals as well as corporations. In effect, “the people” are bypassed through these not-for-profit groups. While the Supreme Court OK’d this in a decision several years ago, it is the type of decision that fosters the continued erosion of the board public interests. Rather, the perspective of the wealthy are the first fed at the political table. Some of my readers may disagree. But, this is affecting decisions by our political leaders across the board – including the health care sphere. 

On The Antitrust Cusp: Considerations Related to Hospital Consolidation – I recently came across a new item noting that the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights held hearings in May, 2021 on the issue of increasing hospital monopoly power across the nation. The U.S. Senate hearing was a bipartisan affairs led by Sen. Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN). In addition to focusing on the problems, they also discussed potential solutions. I anticipate that this topic will be an ongoing discussion with major ramifications for care delivery as the U.S. health care system continues to evolve and change.

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