Large Employer Group Asks Congress For A Ban On Hospital Mergers During COVID-19

A group representing some of the largest US employers has asked Congress for a year-long ban on mergers and acquisitions among hospitals and doctors groups that received government money to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported Reuters

The Pacific Business Group on Health, whose members include Boeing, Salesforce, Tesla, and Walmart, wrote in a letter addressed to congressional leaders lasat week that it feared that further consolidation in the healthcare industry could lead to higher costs.

Physician practices’ revenues have plummeted across the United States since shutdowns were imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, as patients stay home except for emergencies.

Even before the pandemic, well-funded hospital systems were taking over smaller doctors groups and hospitals to increase market share, the group claims. 

PBGH said it fears these larger players will be even better positioned to buy struggling practices coming out of the crisis, raising healthcare prices for employers. The group asked for a year-long M&A ban for any healthcare provider receiving any of the US$170 billion government relief approved for the industry. 

“Anti-competitive practices are increasingly concerning to large employers. What we’re seeing happening right now is the collapse of independent primary care,” Elizabeth Mitchell, chief executive officer of PBGH, told Reuters. Politicians and regulators have already been scrutinizing mergers in the hospital industry.

Full Content: Reuters

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