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Beaumont Health's main hospital campus in Royal Oak, Michigan. Photo: Beaumont Health

Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health have signed a merger agreement that would combine a health insurance company and 22 hospitals into one tax-exempt system with almost $13 billion in annual revenue.

Why it matters: This deal would form the largest hospital system in Michigan, raising new concerns about what would happen to hospital and physician prices if the merger is ultimately approved.

Between the lines: This is Beaumont's third attempt at a large-scale merger since 2019. Talks with two out-of-state systems, Summa Health in Ohio and Advocate Aurora Health in Illinois and Wisconsin, fell apart.

By the numbers: The coronavirus pandemic led to large drops in hospitalizations, procedures and tests at hospitals. But the pandemic did not affect Spectrum's financial position. And Beaumont, which treated more COVID patients than any other hospital system in Michigan, managed to stay well above water, according to financial documents.

  • Spectrum: Revenue soared 14% to $8.3 billion in 2020, and operating income jumped 24% to $412 million.
  • Beaumont: Revenue dropped 3% $4.6 billion in 2020, and operating income fell 10% to $167 million.
  • The two systems, combined, are sitting on more than $8 billion of cash and investments as of March 31 of this year.
  • Bailout dollars: Spectrum has received $198 million, and Beaumont has received $387 million through the federal government's various bailout funds earmarked for hospitals, doctors and other providers during the pandemic.

Go deeper: The pandemic isn't stopping hospitals from consolidating

Go deeper

Sep 16, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver’s 2022 budget bounces back despite pandemic

Source: The City and County of Denver; Chart: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

The proposed $1.49 billion budget Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled Wednesday includes big bucks for public projects, recovery from cuts made this fiscal year, and investments addressing homelessness and preventing crime.

Between the lines: The suggested figures approach pre-pandemic levels, with revenue growth at $97.5 million, up 7% from 2021.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.