However, Richard "Buz" Cooper, MD, director of the Center for the Future of the Healthcare Workforce at New York Institute of Technology and a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, says providers should not be scolded for trying to survive in a changing landscape.
"The consolidated providers (hospitals and physicians) can bargain better for a fairer piece of the pie. Big insurers and big government had most of the power. And that has forced consolidation," Cooper said in an email exchange with HealthLeaders Media.
"The biggest inflationary driver that I see is compliance, information technology, etc., jumping through all of the useless hoops. Just ask hospitals who they are hiring. The real consequence of ObamaCare is forcing provider consolidation, not for quality, value and all of that stuff but to be able to survive. And not only survive against the payers but survive against the regulators."
Adam Powell, a healthcare economist and president of Payer + Provider Syndicate, a Boston-based consulting firm, says the merger could prove to be a mixed bag for consumers in the affected service areas.
"This is an interesting merger because it involves two healthcare systems that are largely not overlapping. They are in geographically distinct areas," Powell says.