Just announced, a $6.4 billion merger of two of the biggest hospital networks in Michigan - Henry Ford and Beaumont.
Why now? One word - Obamacare.
The Detroit Free Press: Obama's health care plan, cost savings drives merger of Beaumont, Henry Ford
Several long-term trends help explain why the merger of Henry Ford Health System and Beaumont makes sense.
One is the coming implementation of the nation’s new health care law, known informally as Obamacare. The law, and particularly the individual mandate to obtain health coverage in 2014, will swell the number of people seeking health care.
The expected Medicare reimbursement cuts that will necessarily go hand-in-hand with the Obamacare expansion are also a reason:
At the same time, the financial stresses facing the nation’s Medicare and Medicaid systems means hospitals that provide care are facing shortfalls on reimbursement for their services. For hospital systems that treat a lot of poor people in places like Detroit, cutbacks on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement can be particularly worrisome.
There's no such thing as free health care.
Hospitals can look ahead and see that under Obamacare, they'll be one of those taking the hit with reduced Medicare reimbursements to keep the true costs as distant and opaque as possible to the American health consumer/voter and they're planning and acting accordingly.