Murray Rothbard, as Lew Rockwell relates in his latest book, “Fascism vs. Capitalism,” maintained a healthy respect for the obvious and unapologetic corruption in the boxing world.  After all, in the boxing world, no one masquerades as a standardbearer of ethics!  This is in direct contrast to the workings of the state, where the most corrupt and vicious schemes are packaged as beneficial to us all (Obamacare?).

Rothbard would like this short article, I think.  Rather than buy the practices of the physicians from whom the hospital system wanted referrals, HMA (Health Management Associates) just (allegedlyl)bribed them.  The hospital system, however, surrenders all due respect when you read at the end of the article that they are denying the allegations. 

Hospitals typically buy (completely purchase) physician practices from which they wish to “capture” patients.  They then spend lots of time ridiculing physicians like me who own the facilities in which we work, referring to us as ”greedy self-dealers.”  (That our prices are a fraction…sometimes a tenth…of what the so-called “not for profit” hospitals charge for the same operations is inconvenient for them to say the least). Behind the curtain, the physicians hired by the hospital typically operate under a host of threats meant to prevent “leakage” of patient referrals (like surgery, laboratory and diagnostic studies) outside of the “family”(syndicate).  The financial carnage resulting from this shrouded arrangement dwarfs any damage done by open hospital bribes, I think. 

Professor Robert Higgs makes the point that private criminals couldn’t possibly kill or rob the rest of us nearly as effectively as public criminals (politicians and bureaucrats) pretending to work for our welfare.  I think the article linked to above should remind us to react with skepticism whenever we hear the do-gooder platitudes of the giant corporate hospitals, just as we should recoil from apparatchiks of the state claiming to act on our behalf. 

G. Keith Smith, M.D.