Benefits and Costs of Vertical Integration
Regulators are struggling with how to approach hospitals’ and health systems’ acquisition of physician groups and vertical integration in health care more generally. While CMS promotes integration via the Accountable Care Organization contracting mechanism, antitrust authorities promise to scrutinize mergers that raise the risk of anticompetitive behavior. While horizontal integration in health care has been well-studied, we know less about the impact of vertical integration on prices and even less about much-hyped but speculative efficiency effects. This session includes papers that assess the impact of integration between physicians and hospitals and health systems on health care spending and value.