Calif. MDs fear Kaiser monopoly

On Friday Kaiser Permanente announced that it bought Buenaventura Medical Group, the largest medical group in Ventura County, CA. Now doctors in the area are concerned that the insurer's purchase is the beginning of a Kaiser monopoly of the market.

"Kaiser is huge with huge financial resources," Gary Proffett, medical director of SeaView IPA, told the Ventura County Star. "They could buy the local market by keeping prices low so employers would then start offering only Kaiser to their employees." Kaiser contracted with both BMG and SeaView--a 110 physician medical group--until last year when the insurer announced that it would be building its own clinics nearby. Proffett speculates that Kaiser may eventually want to build a hospital in the area, though Kaiser denies that possibility.

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PLUS: In April, the AMA expressed concerns that consolidation among healthcare insurers could lead to nationwide monopolies. Article