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Hospital execs claim that greater control means more coordinated care, while economists argue that health systems’ greater leverage with insurers leads to higher prices. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Health systems have been snapping up physician groups, and the end result is higher prices—not just for specialist care and primary care, which went up 9 percent and 5 percent, respectively, but also for Affordable Care Act premiums, which rose 12 percent—all from 2013 to 2016.

That’s according to a new Health Affairs study of 41 “highly concentrated” California counties indicating that the percentage of hospital-employed physicians rose from about 25 percent in 2010 to more than 40 percent in 2016.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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