The Price Effects of Cross-Market Hospital Mergers
55 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2016 Last revised: 27 Nov 2021
Date Written: March 2016
We consider the effect of mergers between firms whose products are not viewed as direct substitutes for the same good or service, but are bundled by a common intermediary. Focusing on hospital mergers across distinct geographic markets, we show that such combinations can reduce competition among merging hospitals for inclusion in insurers' networks, leading to higher prices (or lower-quality care). Using data on hospital mergers from 1996-2012, we find support that this mechanism operates within state boundaries: cross-market, within-state hospital mergers yield price increases of 7-9 percent for acquiring hospitals, whereas out of state acquisitions do not yield significant increases.
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