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Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital in Columbia, S.C. (Chuck Burton / AP)

Palmetto Health and Greenville Health System, the two largest hospital systems in South Carolina, will merge. The resulting not-for-profit system will be the biggest private employer in the state and own 20% of the state's hospital beds. It also will have nearly $4 billion of annual revenue, or about "half of the annual state budget," the Post and Courier reported.

Why it matters: Hospitals continue to consolidate at rapid rates to offset declining Medicare and Medicaid payments and lower numbers of hospital visits. Palmetto and Greenville justified the merger in part by saying "for-profit health systems, motivated by shareholder returns and high profit expectations, are shredding the health care safety net." But many studies have shown hospital deals of any kind usually lead to higher prices and lower quality.

Money watch: Palmetto and Greenville both posted lower operating margins in their latest fiscal years. Palmetto has lost money from operations so far this year.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.

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