In Consolidation in Health Care Markets: A Review of the Literature, authors David Balto and James Kovacs in a study funded by and submitted to the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation discuss the recent literature concerning consolidation across various health care markets.

The paper focuses on consolidation of hospital, provider, and health insurance markets with the goal of understanding the impact consolidation has on health care prices, quality of care, and overall costs.  The paper seeks to provide an overview of the key research and present findings in different areas of healthcare to facilitate further investigation.

The authors find that while there is consolidation across many health care markets, some of the literature suggests consolidation can lead to greater efficiencies and higher quality care.  The authors also focus on specific Affordable Care Act provisions which have the goal of not only increasing access but improving the quality of care.

The paper then concludes with specific conclusions and policy implications including a discussion of agency antitrust enforcement and congressional action.

David A. Balto is an antitrust attorney in Washington, D.C. specializing in public interest advocacy. Mr. Balto is the former Assistant Director of Policy for the Competition Bureau of the Federal Trade Commission and attorney-advisor for Commissioner Robert Pitofsky. Mr. Balto also served as trial attorney for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. Mr. Balto currently operates his own law firm in Washington, D.C.

James Kovacs is a third year law student at St. Louis University School of Law where he will obtain his degree in May 2013 with a concentration in Health Law.

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