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Your Exorbitant Medical Bill, Brought to You by the Latest Hospital Merger

Your Exorbitant Medical Bill, Brought to You by the Latest Hospital Merger

After decades of unchecked mergers, healthcare is the land of giants, with one or two huge medical systems monopolizing care top to bottom in many markets.  Economic research shows that the level of hospital consolidation today — 75 percent of markets are now considered highly consolidated — decreases patient choice, impedes innovation, erodes quality, and raises prices.  For many years the FTC made little effort to block hospital mergers because judges tended to rule that as nonprofit entities, hospitals were unlikely to use monopoly power to pursue abusive business practices.  How wrong they were.  New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal, July 25, 2023

AOP Response: The hospital and insurance industries have both grown to be anti-competitive at the expense of doctors and patients.  The FTC has an especially hard time evaluating the effects of vertical mergers, like when a big hospital system buys up doctors’ practices and independent surgical centers.  Transactions under $111 million do not have to be reported to the agency.  AOP supports attempts to inject competition into the health system, such as banning noncompete clauses for physicians employed by hospitals.

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