Critical feature and article of Sutter Health by 60 Minutes December 2020
Sutter Health is in the midst of a lawsuit for business practices that drove up health care prices for Californians.
The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed more than a flood of disease in this country. It’s also expected to accelerate a wave of hospital mergers and acquisitions – with big hospitals buying up smaller ones. This consolidation, economists say, is one of the main reasons the cost of health care in this country is going through the roof.
There’s a lawsuit over this in COVID-ravaged California, with the state attorney general claiming that Sutter Health, a hospital chain based in Sacramento, got so big it had essentially become a monopoly.
On the eve of the trial, Sutter tentatively agreed to a settlement that’s awaiting a judge’s approval. But this is, even at this stage, a landmark case because it pulled back the curtain on what has rarely been seen or so thoroughly documented before: how and why hospital prices have been skyrocketing.
Sutter is a sprawling health care system that’s the largest and most dominant provider in Northern California.