'The True Cost of Megamergers in Healthcare: Higher Prices'

According to an analysis of claims from the top three US insurers, hospital mergers designed to form local and regional health systems raised prices by 1.6% over the following two years, on average, and by 5.2% where federal guidelines enabled the hospitals to use their hefty market power.

'Such price increases added an average of $204 million to national health spending in the year after mergers of nearby hospitals, according to a study published Wednesday by American Economic Review: Insights.

Workers cover much of the bill, said Zack Cooper, an associate professor of economics at Yale University who helped conduct the study. Employers cut into wages and trim jobs to offset rising insurance premiums, he said. β€œThe harm from these mergers really falls squarely on Main Street,” Cooper said.’