In an interview aired by WHYY on July 12, Professor Robert Field predicted that the merger of Aria Health with Jefferson University will likely have both positive and negative effects on consumers.
“There’s better one-stop shopping,” Field said, comparing a wave of hospital and health care system mergers to the trend toward large supermarkets replacing small grocery stores. “You can have more variety of goods. But in the long run, you will see higher costs and you will end up paying for it.”
A larger system allows for better coordination and referrals to appropriate specialists, Field said.
“The problem is when health system get big enough, they get too powerful in terms of extracting money, and the costs tend to go up.”
An authority on health law and health care policy, Field noted that the Jefferson-Aria merger comes amid many such developments among hospitals and health care systems.
Field is the author of “Mother of Invention: How the Government Created ‘Free-Market’ Health Care,” which was published by Oxford University Press in 2013.