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Atrium Health is offering to buy a local hospital for $3 billion. Photo: Atrium Health

Hospitals that have pocketed tens of millions of dollars in federal coronavirus bailouts are still pursuing big-ticket mergers and acquisitions.

Why it matters: The pandemic has dried up big parts of hospitals' businesses, and that's why Congress established a $175 billion bailout fund to help them. At the same time, they're spending millions on lawyers and advisers to explore deals that expand their business empires.

Where it stands:

  • Advocate Aurora Health and Beaumont Health are in discussions to merge into a giant hospital system spanning three Midwest states. Beaumont has received more than $550 million so far in coronavirus bailout funds, and Advocate Aurora has received $328 million.
  • Atrium Health, Duke Health and Novant Health are in a multibillion-dollar bidding war to acquire New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C. Atrium has pocketed $149 million, Novant has received more than $80 million and Duke has gotten almost $50 million in bailout funds.
  • ProMedica is offering to take over the operations of the University of Toledo Medical Center. ProMedica has received $158 million in coronavirus bailouts.
  • Lifespan and Care New England in Rhode Island have rekindled merger talks. The two systems have combined for more than $64 million in coronavirus funds.

Between the lines: The New Hanover situation, in particular, shows that the pandemic isn't slowing down market expansion, especially if the prize is big enough.

The bottom line: The effects on competition and patients' wallets will live on after the pandemic ends.

Go deeper: The coronavirus could force more doctors to sell to hospitals — or shutter

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

HHS issues new protections for Texas abortion providers, patients

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

The Biden administration's latest move to bolster support for abortion providers and patients in Texas include funding for clinics, protections for health care workers and reinforcement of legal statutes specific to pregnant people, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced Friday.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has vowed to fight Texas' new abortion law, the U.S.'s most restrictive since 1973, on multiple fronts.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.