Letters: Hospital merger is putting lipstick on a pig

Contributed To The Press • Oct 6, 2017 at 12:00 AM

The merger of Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System reminds me of the adage: “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.” Not only have they put lipstick on this pig, but a ball gown and high heel shoes as well.

The adornments they are using are the gigantic mountain of legal paperwork, flowery statements about how great it will be and scare tactics about some outside entity coming in and disrupting the whole shooting match. My question is: If both are losing money, why would anybody want to buy them?

I suspect even the state does not understand this paperwork entirely. In this case the pig will gobble up all the health care dollars in the region from Medicare, private insurance companies and patients. It will have no competition at the trough because it is the only piggy there.

Competition breeds quality and the best price for any service. What if there was only one make of clothes washer or car? Do you think the quality we enjoy today would be in those items?

Another item is the fact that some of the area’s leading business leaders and richest folks and education leaders were the ones to come up with this merger idea. What is in it for them? There is an opportunity for money to be made here somehow. Unfortunately, I am not smart enough to figure it out, but it is there. Just exactly who owns Wellmont and MSHA and who will own Ballard?

Just remember that the Feds are against this merger. They have been and are still calling it a monopoly. I am certainly not a supporter of federal interference in local matters, but in this case it might be warranted.

Sidebar: The Insurance Commissioner for the state of Tennessee has already approved a 42 percent rise in premiums for Cigna and 21 percent for another carrier for next year. Guess who gets to foot that bill?



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