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The Boston Globe

Opinion

The Podium

Checks and balances needed for health care provider consolidations

A lot has been written about how health care is changing: new methods for paying for care, new tools to compare the cost and quality of medical services and institutions, and new insurance options for employers and consumers. One change that should be concerning to anyone who pays for health care is how the provider consolidation that is taking place could make health care more expensive.

Some have suggested that the wave of mergers, acquisitions and clinical affiliations among hospitals, physicians and other providers is necessary and will result in better integration and improved quality for patients. But the evidence has shown that costs increase when providers come together and the state has taken a limited review of the pending changes, even though Massachusetts businesses and residents may be left facing fewer choices and higher prices in the future.

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