April 12, 2013


Consolidation’s Not the Culprit

Rich Umbdenstock, AHA President and CEO

Economic forces, combined with the elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that demand greater continuity in care, have driven an urgent need for hospitals to increase ties to physicians and investment in quality and patient safety initiatives, achieve economies of scale and attract capital.  Some worry that the resulting increase in hospital mergers and acquisitions could drive growth in health care spending and hospital prices.  Happily, this has not been the case  in fact, another trend has emerged.  Health care spending growth is at a historic low, and hospital price and cost growth are at their lowest rates in more than a decade.  Recently released figures from the Congressional Budget Office find that the sharp and persistent slowdown in the growth of health care spending is helping narrow the federal deficit.  Quite simply, these figures are not consistent with claims that health care costs are the drivers of large premiums increases.

Thanks,
Rich

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