A state watchdog group says a proposed merger between two major Massachusetts hospital systems could drive up health care costs in the state more than $250 million per year.
The Health Policy Commission's report released Wednesday says a merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Lahey Health System could mean $191 million more per year for inpatient, outpatient, and primary care services and almost $60 million more per year for specialty physician services.
The higher costs would be passed on to insurers, employers, and consumers.
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The commission does not have the authority to prevent the merger, which would also include New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, and Newburyport's Anna Jaques Hospital.
Executives for both hospitals say a merger will help control health care costs.