The House Energy and Commerce Committee has asked the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to examine the impact of hospital consolidation on patients and federal health care spending.

In a letter signed by Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Health Subcommittee chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS), the Energy and Commerce Committee states that

We request the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) conduct research examining questions regarding the market trend of hospital consolidation and the degree to which such consolidation increases cost to the Medicare program and beneficiaries, including the costs for prescription drugs.

The eight-page letter outlines the different views the committee has heard on this subject during various hearings, questions whether certain federal policies encourage or facilitate hospital industry consolidation – and whether they should do so – and outlines some of the challenges the committee suspects may arise as a result of industry consolidation.

Go here to see the letter from the House Energy and Commerce Committee to MedPAC asking MedPAC to look into this issue and to respond with its findings within 30 days.