U.S. House Budget Committee Hearing on Breaking Up Health Care Monopolies

Congress is looking closely at mergers and acquisitions in healthcare, including those that involve physicians’ practices. Here’s not just what you need to know, but what you should do about it.

U.S. House Budget Committee Hearing on Breaking Up Health Care Monopolies

What

The U.S. House Budget Committee held a hearing to discuss how to reduce healthcare costs by limiting merger and acquisition activity. Vertical consolidation — an example of which might be when a hospital acquires a physician practice — is becoming more common and is associated with higher prices. In fact, hearing witnesses shared that between 2002 and 2020, over 1000 mergers occurred, which coincided with the average hospital service price increasing by more than $500 post-merger. Other recent events, like UnitedHealth Group’s Change Healthcare cyberattack, also highlight the risk of vertical consolidation, because it demonstrated the vulnerability to the system when one large entity controls so much of the claims processing. As a result, Congress is raising questions about the impact of healthcare mergers and acquisitions on consumers, physicians, and a competitive market.

When