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A dubious spawn of the ACA — hospital mergers

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“Hospital consolidation, done properly in a competitive marketplace, can have positive effects. Multi-hospital conglomerates can quickly disseminate best practices and quality initiatives, for example. But competition and the choices it provides can also disappear.”

“Today’s frenzy of hospital mergers and physician practice acquisitions is giving hospital systems even greater leverage to inflate opaque ‘charge-master’ medical bills that even hospitals are sometimes unable to itemize sensibly. With no mechanism to allow free-market forces to keep prices in check, this translates into higher health-insurance deductibles and copays for insured Americans, and in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, higher taxes.”

Dr. Malary, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, gives examples from around America.

Further, he writes: “As a busy surgeon, I have serious concerns about the race to consolidate America’s hospitals because of the risk that very large organizations may govern without valuing the wisdom of their front-line employees.”



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