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Critics queasy over Illinois hospital mergers

Chicago Tribune, May 27, 2008
Critics say a recent spike of hospital consolidations in Illinois could translate into rising prices as these bigger institutions gain more negotiating clout with health plans and self-insured employers. The hospitals say they are thinking of consumers by coming together to become more efficient in the face of reductions in spending by government insurers and rising numbers of uninsured. Independent hospitals also say they can better afford capital improvements and new technology if they are part of a larger, cash-rich system. But Illinois' largest health insurer said it has not noticed lower costs from hospitals once they become part of larger organizations.