Under attack from gubernatorial rivals at a forum Wednesday night, Attorney General Martha Coakley defended her decision to allow Partners HealthCare to acquire South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health System instead of filing a lawsuit to stop the merger.
She said the agreement — which still must be approved by a judge — would help “put a net over the bigness of Partners” and reduce the rise of health care costs.
“It would immediately level the playing field for competitors, compared to what the situation is now,” she said.
The proposed agreement would impose some price controls and work to limit the huge company’s bargaining power.
Treasurer Steve Grossman, one of Coakley’s two Democratic opponents in the Sept. 9 primary, said the decision would ultimately cost businesses and consumers tens of millions of dollars more, citing the state’s Health Policy Commission.
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