The Competition Commission’s health-market inquiry has cast the spotlight on the role that private hospitals play in driving up healthcare costs, saying they are responsible for a significant portion of the above-inflation increases in expenditure reported by medical schemes. The inquiry was established to investigate the dynamics at play in the private healthcare market and to determine whether there are barriers to effective competition and patient access. Industry players have consistently argued that private healthcare expenditure costs have risen largely as a result of increased utilisation, rather than price hikes. The inquiry published six diagnostic reports on its website on Friday including an extensive analysis of the most comprehensive data set yet compiled for the medical scheme industry. It found medical scheme expenditure rose by an average of 9.24% a year between 2010 and 2014, about four percentage points more than consumer price inflation, which was on average 5.6% ...

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