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Tag: Jeff Goldsmith

The Real Red Wave: Why the Biden Presidency is in Peril

By JEFF GOLDSMITH

Democrats’ despair after Joe Biden’s pallid and halting debate performance stems from the realization  that the uphill climb needed to prevent the return of Donald Trump might be too steep. What is less obvious is the awareness of the urban intelligentsia of the root causes of the adverse political climate, which can be seen in this map, taken from the Economist’s April 20 feature on declining US population.

A map of the united states

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America’s economy is booming, and the gap between its economic performance and that of the rest of the world is widening. The on-the-ground political reality is very different depending crucially on where you live. People who live in the red parts of this map do not need convincing that all that wealth, and the power that goes with it, has eluded them. Many of them believe that it has been stolen from them by corrupt leaders and the oligarchs and corporate interests that finance their campaigns.

That is the underlying reality of MAGA.  Ninety percent of those red counties voted for Donald Trump in 2020. People in metro Austin, Manhattan or the suburbs of Houston do not resonate with the need to make America great again. It’s already great for many of them.

For folks living in the abandoned parts of the US, the on-the-ground reality is absurd gas prices, unaffordable mortgages, a mountain of forever debt, deteriorating public services, dreams cruelly out of reach and the despair that goes with all of it-alcohol and drug dependency, depression and anxiety, obesity, domestic violence. There is an almost perfect correspondence between the above map and that of the epidemic of “deaths of despair” suicide, drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning. This phenomenon is rooted in middle-aged whites, the overwhelming demographic of the red parts of this map, but affects all demographic segments including black and Hispanic folks who traditionally supported Democrats.     

After 2016, political analysts believed that the prevalence of non-college educated whites in a local electorate was the single best predictor of Donald Trump’s shocking victory. That was not the case. A post-election analysis by the Economist revealed that a better predictor of Trump’s victory was a composite measure of health/life expectancy, specifically “county-level data on life expectancy and the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heavy drinking and regular physical activity (or lack thereof)”, the mapping of which again correlates remarkably with the map of population decline above.

The very same forces of outmigration and economic stagnation are destroying these communities’ local health systems, as well as their schools, commercial businesses and churches. The same red areas are also areas where local physicians have retired and were not replaced, and whose hospitals closed or merged with larger regional conglomerates. A recent scurrilous analysis by Yale and University of Chicago economists blamed the rising deaths of despair and  local business’s economic struggles on hospital mergers, an absolutely “from central casting” example of blaming the victim. 

The bitter irony of this political season is that the Biden Administration’s remarkable roster of Congressional achievements in 2021 and 2022- the American Rescue Plan, the American Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act showered many tens of billions in temporary relief spending and capital investment for manufacturing and infrastructure on these red areas. Because many of these investments take years to execute, credit for them will be claimed by future administrations.

Yet due to the arrogance and isolation of the progressive policy advocates that shaped this legislation, it was simply self-evidently obvious that the most ambitious domestic reconstruction program in the ninety years since Roosevelt will help many of the most economically challenged areas in the country. Proud and sparsely attended ribbon cutting ceremonies made the local newspaper, if there still is one. News of these investments never arrived via the partisan news channels and hyper-targeted social media venues on which most ordinary Americans rely these days. That attitude of “self-evident good works”  is of a piece with the “Why Bother Visiting Wisconsin” arrogance that let Trump into the White House in the first place. 

If post-debate polling is any guide, all these trillions of dollars of good works, funded with money borrowed from our grandchildren, will not be enough to turn the red tide, which could well leave the Republicans firmly in control of all three branches of the federal government. As they go to their cushy post-administration redoubts at the Brookings Institution, Yale, Hopkins and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and hobnob at Aspen Institute and Martha’s Vineyard cocktail parties, the executors of all these good works, for the unforgiveable political sin of failing to communicate effectively with the struggling working class they used to champion, will have fully earned their retirement. 

Jeff Goldsmith is a veteran health care futurist, President of Health Futures Inc and regular THCB Contributor. This comes from his personal substack

Optum: Testing Time for an Invisible Empire

By JEFF GOLDSMITH

Years ago, the largest living thing in the world was thought to be the blue whale. Then someone discovered that the largest living thing in the world was actually the 106 acre, 47 thousand tree Pando aspen grove in central Utah, which genetic testing revealed to be a single organism. With its enormous network of underground roots and symbiotic relationship with a vast ecosystem of fungi, that aspen grove is a great metaphor for UnitedHealth Group. United, whose revenues amount to more than 8% of the US health system, is the largest healthcare enterprise in the world. The root system of UHG is a vast and poorly understood subsidiary called Optum.

At $226 billion annual revenues, Optum is the largest healthcare business in the US that no-one knows anything about. Optum by itself has revenues that are a little less than 5% of total US healthcare spending. An ill-starred Optum subsidiary, Change Healthcare, which suffered a catastrophic $100 billion cyberattack on February 21, 2024 that put most of the US health system on life support, put its parent company Optum in the headlines.

But Change Healthcare is a tiny (less than 2%) piece of this vast new (less than twenty years old) healthcare enterprise. If it were freestanding, Optum would be the 12th largest company in the US: identical in size to Costco and slightly larger than Microsoft. Optum’s topline revenues are almost four times larger than HCA, the nation’s largest hospital company, one third larger than the entirety of Elevance, United’s most significant health plan competitor, and more than double the size of Kaiser Permanente.

If there really were economies of scale in healthcare, they would mean that care was of demonstrably better value provided by vast enterprises like Optum/United than in more fragmented, smaller, or less integrated alternatives. It is not clear that it is. If value does not reach patients and physicians in ways that matter to them—in better, less expensive, and more responsive care, in improved health or in a less hassled and more fulfilling practice—ultimately the care system as well as United will suffer.

What is Optum?

Optum is a diversified health services, financing and business intelligence subsidiary of aptly named UnitedHealth Group. It provides health services, purchases drugs on behalf of United’s health plan, and provides consulting, logistical support (e.g. claims management and IT enablement) and business intelligence services to United’s health plan business, as well as to United’s competitors.

Of Optum’s $226 billion topline, $136.4 billion (or 60% of its total revenues) represent clinical and business services provided to United’s Health Insurance business. Corporate UnitedHealth Group, Optum included, generated $29 billion in cashflow in 23, and $118.3 billion since 2019. United channeled almost $52 billion of that cash into buying health-related businesses, nearly all of which end up housed inside Optum.

Source: 2023 UNH 10K

For most of the past decade, Optum has been driving force of incremental profit growth for United. Optum’s operating profits grew from $6.7 billion in 2017 (34% of UHG total) to $15.9 billion in 2023 (55% of total). However, the two most profitable pieces of Optum by operating margin—Optum Health and Optum Insight—have seen their operating margins fall by one third in just four years. The slowing of Optum’s profitability is a huge challenge for United.

Gaul Had Three Parts, So Does Optum

The largest and least profitable (by percent margin) piece of Optum is its giant Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Optum Rx, the third largest PBM in the US.

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So what can we do about health care costs?

By MATTHEW HOLT

Last week Jeff Goldsmith wrote a great article in part explaining why health care costs in the US went up so much between 1965 and 2010. He also pointed out that health care has been the same portion of GDP for more than a decade (although we haven’t had a major recession in that time other than the Covid 2020 blip when it went up to 19%). However, it’s worth remembering that we are spending 17.3% of GDP while the other main OECD countries are spending 11-12%. Now it’s true that the US has lots of social problems that show up in heath spending and also that those other countries probably spend more on social services, but it’s also clear that we don’t actually deliver a lot more in services. In fact probably the most famous health economics paper of the last 50 years was Anderson & Rienhardt’s “It’s the Prices, Stupid”, which shows we just pay more for the same things. Anyone who’s looked at the price of Ozempic in the US versus in Denmark knows that’s true.

But suspend disbelief and say we actually wanted to do something about health care costs, what would we do?

There are 4 ways to cut health care costs

  1. Cut prices
  2. Cut overall use of services
  3. Reduce only unnecessary services
  4. Replace higher priced services with lower priced ones

Number 3 or reducing only unnecessary services is the health policy wonks dream.

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Who to Blame for Health Costs: The Poisoned Chalice of “Moral Hazard”

By JEFF GOLDSMITH

How the Search for Perfect Markets has Damaged Health Policy

Sometimes ideas in healthcare are so powerful that they haunt us for generations even though their link to the real world we all live in is tenuous. The idea of “moral hazard” is one of these ideas. In 1963, future Nobel Laureate economist Kenneth Arrow wrote an influential essay about the applicability of market principles to medicine entitled “Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care”.    

One problem Arrow mentioned in this essay was “moral hazard”- the enhancement of demand for something people use to buy for themselves that is financed through third party insurance. Arrow described two varieties of moral hazard: the patient version, where insurance lowers the final cost and inhibitions, raising the demand for a product, and the physician version–what happens when insurance pays for something the physician controls by virtue of a steep asymmetry of knowledge between them and the patient and more care is provided than actually needed. The physician-patient relationship is “ground zero” in the health system.

Moral hazard was only one of several factors Arrow felt would made it difficult to apply rational economic principles to medicine. The highly variable and uniquely threatening character of illness was a more important factor, as was the limited scope of market forces, because government provision of care for large numbers of poor folk was required.  

One key to the durability of Arrow’s thesis was timing: it was published just two years before the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, which dramatically expanded the government’s role in financing healthcare for the elderly and the categorically needy. In 1960, US health spending was just 5% of GDP, and a remarkable 48% of health spending was out of pocket by individual patients. 

After 1966, when the laws were enacted, health spending took off like the proverbial scalded dog. For the next seven years, Medicare spending rose nearly 29% per year and explosive growth in health spending rose to the top of the federal policy stack. By 2003, health spending had reached 15% of GDP! Arrow’s  moral hazard thesis quickly morphed into a “blame the patient” narrative that became a central tenet of an emerging field of health economics, as well as in the conservative critique of the US health cost problem.  

Fuel was added to the fire by Joseph Newhouse’s RAND Health Insurance Experiment in the 1980s,  which found that patients that bore a significant portion of the cost of care used less care and were apparently no sicker at the end of the eight-year study period. An important and widely ignored coda to the RAND study was that patients with higher cost shares were incapable of distinguishing between useful and useless medical care, and thus stinted on life-saving medications that diminished their longer term health prospects. A substantial body of consumer research has since demonstrated that patients are in fact terrible at making “rational” economic choices regarding their health benefits. 

The RAND study provided justification for ending so-called first dollar health  coverage and, later, high-deductible health plans. Today more than half of all Americans have high deductible health coverage. Not surprisingly, half of all Americans also report foregoing care because they do not have the money to pay their share of the cost!   

However, a different moral hazard narrative took hold in liberal/progressive circles, which blamed the physician, rather than the patient, for the health cost crisis.  

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Patients are Not “Consumers”: My Cancer Story 

By JEFF GOLDSMITH

On Christmas Eve 2014, I received a present of some profoundly unwelcome news: a 64 slice CT scan confirming not only the presence of a malignant tumor in my neck, but also a fluid filled mass the size of a man’s finger in my chest cavity outside the lungs. Two days earlier, my ENT surgeon in Charlottesville, Paige Powers, had performed a fine needle aspiration of a suspicious almond-shaped enlarged lymph node, and the lab returned a verdict of “metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck with an occult primary tumor”. 

I had worked in healthcare for nearly forty years when cancer struck, and considered myself an “expert” in how the health system worked. My experience fundamentally changed my view of how health care is delivered, from the patient’s point of view. Many have compared their fight against cancer as a “battle”. Mine didn’t feel like a battle so much as a chess match where the deadly opponent had begun playing many months before I was aware that he was my adversary. The remarkable image from Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal sums up how this felt to me.

The CT scan was the second step in determining how many moves he had made, and in narrowing the uncertainty about my possible counter moves. The scan’s results were the darkest moment: if the mysterious fluid filled mass was the primary tumor, my options had already dangerously narrowed. Owing to holiday imaging schedules, it was not until New Years’ Eve, seven interminable days later, that a PET/CT scan dismissed the chest mass as a benign fluid-filled cyst. I would require an endoscopy to locate the still hidden primary tumor somewhere in my throat.  

I decided to seek a second opinion at my alma mater, the University of Chicago, where I did my doctoral work and subsequently worked in medical center administration.

The University of Chicago had a superb head and neck cancer team headed by Dr. Everett Vokes, Chair of Medicine, whose aggressive chemotherapy saved the life and career of Chicago’s brilliant young chef, Grant Achatz of Alinea, in 2007.

If surgery was not possible, Chicago’s cancer team had a rich and powerful repertoire of non-surgical therapies. I was very impressed both with their young team, and how collaborative their approach was to my problem. Vokes’ initial instinct that mine was a surgical case proved accurate.

The young ENT surgeon I saw there in an initial consultation, Dr. Alex Langerman performed a quick endoscopy and thought he spotted a potential primary tumor nestled up against my larynx. Alex asked me to come back for a full-blown exploration under general anaesthesia, which I did a week later. The possible threat to my voice, which could have ended my career, convinced me to return to Chicago for therapy. Alex’s endoscopy found a tumor the size of a chickpea at the base of my tongue. Surgery was scheduled a week later in the U of Chicago’s beautiful new hospital, the Center for Care and Discovery.

This surgery was performed on Feb 2, 2015, by a team of clinicians none of whom was over the age of forty. It was not minor surgery, requiring nearly six hours:  resections of both sides of my neck, including the dark almond and a host of neighboring lymph nodes. And then, there was robotic surgery that removed a nearly golf ball-sized piece of the base of my tongue and throat. The closure of this wound remodeled my throat.

I arrived in my hospital room late that day with the remarkable ability to converse in my normal voice.

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Turnarounds are Talent Magnets: University of Chicago Medical Center

By JEFF GOLDSMITH

Like birds of a feather, talent in healthcare management often gathers in flocks. The University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and University of Iowa healthcare management programs are all justly famous for graduating, over many decades, an exceptional number of future transformative healthcare leaders. But sometimes, talent comes from the “street”- challenging healthcare turnarounds that attract risk-taking leaders who, in turn, gather young talent around them. The University of Chicago’s urban academic health center has been one of these places.

The U of C was (and remains) the largest care provider on Chicago’s troubled South Side, a vast urban landscape that struggled economically and socially for more than seventy years with intractable poverty and violence. Like other major teaching hospitals in challenging neighborhoods–the Bronx’s Montefiore and Harlem’s Columbia-Presbyterian come to mind–all the management challenges of running complex academic health center are magnified by coping with huge flows of Medicaid and uninsured urban poor. 

In 1973, President Edward Levi appointed Daniel Tosteson, who was then Chair of Pharmacology and Physiological Sciences at Duke University, to be Dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine and Vice President for the University of Chicago’s troubled Medical Center. Tosteson was a charismatic basic scientist with no prior experience running a 700-bed urban teaching hospital.  He arrived in the middle of a severe Illinois’ fiscal crisis, and a horrendous Medicaid funding challenge (31% of the Chicago’s patients were Medicaid recipients). Chicago’s clinical chairs who led the recruitment of Tosteson also played a crucial role in the subsequent turnaround–notably Dr David Skinner, Chair of Surgery and Dr. Al Tarlov, Chair of Medicine, and Dr. Daniel X Freedman, Chair of Psychiatry. 

To renew the Medical Center, Tosteson recruited an experienced clinical manager, Dr. Henry Russe from competitor Rush Presbyterian St-Lukes, as his Chief Clinician. But Tosteson went off the reservation and hired a 34 year old economist named David Bray, who was Executive Associate Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (responsible for the national security and intelligence agencies) as his Chief Financial Officer. He also named John Piva, formerly of Johns Hopkins,  his Chief Development Officer. To revitalize Chicago’s principal affiliate, Michael Reese Hospital, he recruited as its President, Dr. J. Robert Buchanan, then Dean of Cornell Medical College.  And he recruited me, at age 27, from the Illinois Governor’s Office, as his government affairs lead and special assistant.   

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Out of Control Health Costs or a Broken Society

Flawed Accounting for the US Health Spending Problem

By Jeff Goldsmith

Source: OECD, Our World in Data

Late last year, I saw this chart which made my heart sink. It compared US life expectancy to its health spending since 1970 vs. other countries. As you can see,  the US began peeling off from the rest of the civilized world in the mid-1980’s. Then US life expectancy began falling around 2015, even as health spending continued to rise. We lost two more full years of life expectancy to COVID. By  the end of 2022, the US had given up 26 years-worth of progress in life expectancy gains. Adding four more years to the chart below will make us look even worse.  

Of course, this chart had a political/policy agenda: look what a terrible social investment US health spending has been! Look how much more we are spending than other countries vs. how long we live and you can almost taste the ashes of diminishing returns. This chart posits a model where you input health spending into the large black box that is the US economy and you get health out the other side. 

The problem is that is not how things work. Consider another possible interpretation of this chart:  look how much it costs to clean up the wreckage from a society that is killing off its citizens earlier and more aggressively than any other developed society. It is true that we lead the world in health spending.  However, we also lead the world in a lot of other things health-related.

Exceptional Levels of Gun Violence

Americans are ten times more likely than citizens of most other comparable countries to die of gun violence. This is hardly surprising, since the US has the highest rate of gun ownership per capita in the world, far exceeding the ownership rates in failed states such as Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. The US has over 400 million guns in circulation, including 20 million military style semi-automatic weapons. Firearms are the leading cause of deaths of American young people under the age of 24. According to the Economist, in 2021, 38,307 Americans aged between 15 and 24 died vs. just 2185 in Britain and Wales. Of course, lots of young lives lost tilt societal life expectancies sharply downward.

A Worsening Mental Health Crisis

Of the 48 thousand deaths from firearms every year in the US, over 60% are suicides (overwhelmingly by handguns), a second area of dubious US leadership. The US has the highest suicide rate among major western nations. There is no question that the easy access to handguns has facilitated this high suicide rate.

About a quarter of US citizens self-report signs of mental distress, a rate second only to Sweden. We shut down most of our public mental hospitals a generation ago in a spasm of “de-institutionalization” driven by the arrival of new psychoactive drugs which have grossly disappointed patients and their families. As a result,  the US  has defaulted to its prison system and its acute care hospitals as “treatment sites”; costs to US society of managing mental health problems are, not surprisingly, much higher than other countries. Mental health status dramatically worsened during the COVID pandemic and has only partially recovered. 

Drug Overdoses: The Parallel Pandemic

On top of these problems, the US has also experienced an explosive increase in drug overdoses, 110 thousand dead in 2022, attributable to a flood of deadly synthetic opiates like fentanyl. This casualty count is double that of the next highest group of countries, the Nordic countries, and is again the highest among the wealthy nations. If you add the number of suicides, drug overdoses and homicides together, we lost 178 thousand fellow Americans in 2021, in addition to the 500 thousand person COVID death toll. The hospital emergency department is the departure portal for most of these deaths. 

Maternal Mortality Risks

The US also has the highest maternal mortality rate of any comparable nation, almost 33 maternal deaths per hundred thousand live births in 2021. This death rate is more than triple that of Britain, eight times that of Germany and almost ten times that of Japan. Black American women have a maternal mortality rate almost triple that of white American women, and 15X the rate of German women. Sketchy health insurance coverage certainly plays a role here, as does inconsistent prenatal care, systemic racial inequities, and a baseline level of poor health for many soon-to-be moms.     

Obesity Accelerates

Then you have the obesity epidemic. Obesity rates began rising in the US in the late 1980’s right around when the US peeled away from the rest of the countries on the chart above. Some 42% of US adults are obese, a number that seemed to be levelling off in the late 2010’s, but then took another upward lurch in the past couple of years. Only the Pacific Island nations have higher obesity rates than the US does. And with obesity, conditions like diabetes flourish. Nearly 11% of US citizens suffer from diabetes, a sizable fraction of whom are undiagnosed (and therefore untreated). US diabetes prevalence is nearly double that of France, with its famously rich diets. 

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THCB Gang Episode 135, Thursday September 28

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday September 28 at 1pm PST 4pm EST are futurist Jeff Goldsmith: author & ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); and patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson).

You can see the video below & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

THCB Gang Episode 133, Thursday August 17

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang on Thursday August 17 at 1pm PST 4pm EST are futurist Jeff Goldsmith: medical historian Mike Magee (@drmikemagee); policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); and patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@mlmillenson);

You can see the video below & if you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels.

Vertical Integration Doesn’t Work in Healthcare:  Time to Move On

So in this week of THCB’s 20th birthday it’s a little ironic that we are running what is almost a mea culpa article from Jeff Goldsmith. I first heard Jeff speak in 1995 (I think!) at the now defunct UMGA meeting, where he explained how he felt virtual vertical integration was the best future for health care. Nearly 30 years on he has some reflections. If you want to read a longer version of this piece, it’s hereMatthew Holt

By JEFF GOLDSMITH

The concept of vertical integration has recently resurfaced in healthcare both as a solution to maturing demand for healthcare organizations’ traditional products and as a vehicle for ambitious outsiders to “disrupt” care delivery.    Vertical integration is a strategy which emerged in US in the 19th Century industrial economy.  It relied upon achieving economies of scale and co-ordination through managing the industrial value chain.    We are now in a post-industrial age, where economies of scale are in scarce supply.  Health enterprises that are pursuing vertical integration need to change course. If you look and feel like Sears or General Motors, you may well end up like them.  This essay outlines reasons for believing that vertical integration is a strategic dead end and what actions healthcare leaders need to take.

Where Did Vertical Integration Come From?

The River Rogue Ford Plant

The strategy of vertical integration was a creature of the US industrial Revolution. The concept was elucidated by the late Alfred DuPont Chandler, Jr. of the Harvard Business School. Chandler found a common pattern of growth and adaptation of 70 large US industrial firms. He looked in detail at four firms that came to dominate markedly different sectors of the US economy:  DuPont, General Motors, Sears Roebuck and Standard Oil of New Jersey. They all followed a common pattern: after growing horizontally through merging with like firms, they vertically integrated by acquiring firms that supplied them raw materials or intermediate products or who distributed the finished products to final customers. Vertical integration enabled firms to own and co-ordinate the entire value chain, squeezing out middlemens’ profits.

The most famous example of vertical integration was the famed 1200 acre River Rouge complex at Ford in Detroit, where literally iron ore to make steel, copper to make wiring and sand to make windshields went in one end of the plant and finished automobiles rolled out the other end. Only the tires, made in nearby Akron Ohio, were manufactured elsewhere. Ford owned 700 thousand acres of forest, iron and limestone mines in the Mesabi range, and built a fleet of ore boats to bring the ore and other raw materials down to Detroit to be made into cars. 

Subsequent stages of industrial evolution required two cycles of re-organization to achieve greater cost discipline and control, as well as diversification into related products and geographical markets. Industrial firms that did not follow this pattern either failed or were acquired. But Chandler also showed that the benefits of each stage of evolution were fleeting; specifically, the benefits conferred by controlling the entire value chain did not last unless companies took other actions. Those interested in this process should read Chandler’s pathbreaking book: Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the US Industrial Enterprise (1962).   

By the late 1960’s, the sun was setting on the firms Chandler wrote about. Chandler’s writing coincided with an historic transition in the US economy from a manufacturing dominated industrial economy to a post-industrial economy dominated by technology and services. Supply chains re-oriented around relocating and coordinating the value-added process where it could be most efficient and profitable.  Owning the entire value chain no longer made economic sense. River Rouge was designated a SuperFund site and part of it has been repurposed as a factory for Ford’s new electric F-150 Lightning truck. 

Why Vertical Integration Arose in Healthcare

I met Alfred Chandler in 1976 when I was being recruited to the Harvard Business School faculty. As a result of this meeting and reading Chandler’s writing, I wrote about the relevance to healthcare of Chandler’s framework in the Harvard Business Review in 1980 and then in a 1981 book Can Hospitals Survive: The New Competitive Healthcare Market, which was, to my knowledge, the first serious discussion of vertical integration in health services.

Can Hospitals Survive correctly predicted a significant decline in inpatient hospital use (inpatient days fell 20% in the next decade!). It also argued that Chandler’s pattern of market evolution would prevail in hospital care as the market for its core product matured. However, some of the strategic advice in this book did not age well, because it focused on defending the hospital’s inpatient franchise rather than evolving toward a more agile and less costly business model. Ambulatory services, which are today almost half of hospital revenues, were viewed as precursors to hospitalization rather than the emerging care template.

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