Yes, exactly. Also the established players were paid for all of their development effort; therefore, it is likely that the IP is owned by the government. This is in contrast to private development efforts. So essentially it is the difference between developing a custom solution (and paying for all development) or going to the store and buying something off the shelf.
Nope, that's not how it works for the EELV rockets. Boeing and Lockheed Martin owned the IP to the rockets and was free to do what ever they wanted as long as they conformed to ITAR (SpaceX also has to conform to ITAR.) They were free to provide commercial launches with their rockets but they lost the market to Europe and Russia and they made no effort to be competitive in those markets. Most US aerospace companies just gave up entirely and Boeing and Lockheed Martin formed the United Launch Alliance and convinced the US government to give them a billion dollars a year to ensure "US access to space." Not to do research, just to exist and maintain their facilities and production capability. That billion does not include providing any launch vehicles and services, that costs extra. A lot extra.
So I know it's popular to blame the government for everything, but US aerospace choose not to compete because they had a nice big cash cow.