Indiana’s hospital industry is among the most monopolized in the United States, with several federal healthcare regions facing no competition. The wholly predictable result is that prices for routine medical procedures are among the highest in the world. Not surprisingly, tax filings with the IRS reveal that Indiana’s not-for-profit hospitals are among the most profitable businesses in the United States. To be fair, they tell an entirely different story in press releases and to reporters. I’ll let you judge to whom they are telling the truth.

One result of this monopolization is that Hoosiers pay lot more for most common medical procedures. A whopping 97% of outpatient visits to the six biggest hospital systems are charged rates that are above the national average. Dozens of studies, from think tanks, universities and consultants have reported these facts. The most recent study, commissioned by the Indiana legislature, was performed by some of the world’s best healthcare economists at UC Berkeley. They report not merely higher prices, but that hospital system mergers caused price increases of almost 20% for local residents.

Michael J. Hicks, PhD, is the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and the George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University.