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Experts Warn of ‘Too-Big-to-Fail’ Hospital Mergers
Healthleaders Media

Hospital mergers that create monopolies in their service areas can drive up costs and reduce quality while presenting a risk for a government bailout if they become “too big to fail,” two health policy experts from Johns Hopkins University say.

In a commentary in the Aug. 13 issue of JAMA, the two researchers call on the Federal Trade Commission to be more aggressive in its review of hospital mergers, particularly when the mergers could create a single dominant hospital system in one geographic area.

“What we are saying is that the basic principles of economics hold true for medical pricing in the same way they do for any other industry,” says “viewpoint” lead author Marty Makary, MD, MPH, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.