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Boston - Superior Court Judge Janet L. Sanders rejected a settlement agreement which would have allowed Partners Healthcare, the largest and most expensive health system in the state, to acquire three more community hospitals and add hundreds of additional doctors to its network. MASSPIRG, the new Attorney General Maura Healey, and other consumer groups opposed the agreement proposed by former Attorney General Martha Coakley.
“This was absolutely the right decision for Massachusetts consumers,” said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPRG’s legislative director. “The only result of allowing the largest health care network to get even larger would be higher costs. Partners already uses their considerable market clout to charge the highest prices in the state; the proposed merger would have exacerbated the problem, not solve it.”
“We are pleased to see Attorney General Maura Healey stand up for consumers and make tackling the high cost of health care a priority,” continued Cummings. In formal comments on the settlement, MASSPIRG wrote: “…The proposed settlement, of which the remedies suggested are untested, fails to accomplish its intended goal of providing a remedy that will cure the anticompetitive effects on the market, including increased prices, decreased competition for provider services, and decreased access for low-income patients, and as a result is not in the public interest.” See MASSPIRG’s comments here, here, and here.
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