As hospital consolidations swept the country over the last three decades, their executives predicted the moves would produce lower costs. But decades of health services research focused on the actual results of this trend have found the opposite. Consolidation has consistently produced higher care prices. Nevertheless in 2023, health care merger mania not only continues, but is expanding in increasingly complicated and more costly ways. Why is this happening in a nation that has otherwise made the reigning in of runaway health care costs a top economic priority?
That question was the subject of a University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics’ virtual seminar that brought together four top authorities to review the benefits, disadvantages, and trajectory of ongoing health care industry consolidations.