Private Equity Is a Parasite Consuming the US Health System

F. DOUGLAS STEPHENSON

November 29, 2022

Private equity has succeeded in depicting itself as part of the productive economy of health care services. even as it is increasingly being recognized as being parasitic. The essence of this toxic parasitism is not only to drain the host’s nourishment, but also to dull the host’s brain so that it often does not even recognize that the parasite is there. This is the illusion that health care services in the United States suffer under today.

Parasitic private equity is consuming US health care from the inside out, weakening its structure and strength and enriching investors at the expense of patient care and patients. Incremental health reforms have failed. It’s time to move past political barriers to achieve consensus on real reform. says J.E. McDonough, Professor of Practice at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Private equity firms are financial termites devouring the woodwork and foundations of the US health care system. Laura Katz Olson documents in her new book, Ethically Challenged: Private Equity Storms US Health Care, “PE firms are gobbling up physician and dental practices; homecare and hospital agencies; mental health, substance abuse, eating disorder, and autism services; urgent care facilities; and emergency medical transportation.” Private equity has become a growing and diversified part of the American health care economy. Demonstrated results of private equity ownership include higher patient mortality, higher patient costs, fewer jobs, poorer quality, and closed facilities.

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