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Letter: The other side of hospital mergers

I read your story “More independent hospitals joining Lahey group” (Globe North, Aug. 11) with interest.

Another side of the hospital merger story is probably worth mentioning: Some hospitals merge to gain power to charge higher prices. In some mergers, boosting revenue may be a much more important aim than cutting cost. We’ve seen Partners claim for two decades that they merged to save money, but they have never provided any supporting evidence.

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Despite the PR, mergers don’t add choices, they subtract choices. Competition between two large hospital systems is not free-market competition, which requires lots of small buyers and sellers.

Also, when you get down to two, you don’t have to travel very far to end up with only one, which will lead quickly to regulation.

Alan Sager

Health Reform Program

Boston University
School of Public Health

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