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Study: Health costs higher where hospital competition is lower

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, February 9, 2010

Spending by private insurers tends to be higher when the hospital market is less competitive, a new study finds. The study compared geographic patterns of Medicare spending, using the Dartmouth Atlas data, with spending by big employers that cover their workers. The researchers suggest that when a small market has just one or a few big hospital systems, employers spend more than they do in large cities where there's more competition, an issue that does not generally affect government health payers like Medicare.