More unintended consequences, which make good stories! Several reporters and news outlets have been doing outstanding work on the market concentration beat. Last year the National Journal’s Margot Sanger-Katz reported on the Chicago hospital mergers and concluded that as hospitals consolidate, “the 2010 health care reform law is likely to make it much worse. A law designed to lower costs will likely raise them instead.” One of the reasons, she wrote, is that current regulations protect new Accountable Care Organizations being set up by hospital systems from tough anti-trust scrutiny. (Accountable Care Organizations are HMO-like organizations that are responsible for managing the care of a given population.)

In addition to Sanger-Katz, the work of reporters at The Charlotte Observer, the Raleigh News & Observer, The Tampa Bay Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and The Wall Street Journal come to mind.

There’s much more to report on, and Porter’s piece offers another template for further exploration.

Follow @USProjectCJR for more posts from Trudy Lieberman and the rest of the United States Project team, including our work on healthcare issues and public health at The Second Opinion.

Related stories:
What We’re Learning About Hospitals, Part One

Brill’s big breakthrough

Holes in a Holy Grail?


Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.