Regarding the article titled “Cottage, Anthem Playing Chicken”:
With the closing of St. Francis Medical Center in 2003, Cottage Health became a monopoly operating the only hospitals in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Santa Ynez. Most people, including medical personnel, knew this was not a good turn of events as Cottage Health became the only game in town to offer emergency-room care and hospitalization services.
Today, we are witnessing the negative effects of why monopolies are not a positive thing: Cottage Health officials walked away from negotiations with Anthem Blue Cross, leaving thousands of people concerned about their ability to pay for medical care. There is no high-stakes game of chicken being played. The monopoly has butchered and boiled the chicken. You can guess who the chicken is.
Editor’s Note: Cottage and Anthem reached an agreement after this story went to press, as reported here.