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US Congress investigates effects of $80bn private equity industry on government healthcare programme

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3490 (Published 07 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3490
  1. Janice Hopkins Tanne
  1. New York, USA

A US government committee is to examine the role of private equity firms in Medicare, the government health insurance programme that covers 44 million Americans over 65.

Recent research has shown that investments by private equity firms in US healthcare increased from $23.1bn (£17.6bn; €19.5bn) in 2015 to $78.9bn in 2019.1 It found that while takeovers by private equity firms may improve some health outcomes, they can also improve profits—in part by increasing charges to insurers.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is reviewing the evidence, holding public meetings, and interviewing stakeholders on the effects of private equity investments on Medicare after a request from the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. It plans to report to Congress next June.2

The commission is looking at four matters: gaps in Medicare data that …

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