This billionaire is pushing back against hospital monopolies

Former energy trader billionaire John Arnold of Texas is funding a push back against big hospital monopolies, The Wall Street Journal reported June 11.

The philanthropic organization Arnold Ventures, funded by Mr. Arnold and his wife, Laura Arnold, is providing financial backing to three lawsuits against hospital systems, including Connecticut-based Hartford Healthcare, Aurora Health in Wisconsin, and a chain of HCA Healthcare hospitals in North Carolina. The suits claim that the systems used their power to illegally inflate prices and squash competition. The systems say the suits brought against them by consumers and employers are baseless. 

Arnold Ventures is supporting such lawsuits by funding a law firm behind many of the suits, Fairmark Partners, although Arnold Ventures declined to disclose how much it spends on the firm. Mr. Arnold's firm is not the only form of philanthropic support Fairmark receives. Arnold Ventures is increasingly focused on reforming the healthcare system, donating $358 million toward research and initiatives in the field, including pharmaceutical prices and hospital consolidation.

"Supporting employers and workers suing hospitals for price gouging and anticompetitive contracting is one way to overcome the imbalance of power in the market," Erica Socker, vice president of healthcare for Arnold Ventures told the Journal.

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