Health care spending

Health care profits explode

Illustration of a red cross and a pill bottle in a pile of money.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The health care industry continued to rake in record-level profits in the second quarter, with its year-over-year earnings increasing by 23%, according to an Axios analysis of 160 companies.

The bottom line: Pharmaceutical firms and hospitals, in particular, are reaping some of the largest rewards even amid the sustained public furor over drug prices and surprise medical bills.

Most hospital markets are highly concentrated

Intermountain hospital building with a sign.
Salt Lake City, where Intermountain is based, is highly concentrated. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Almost three-quarters of metropolitan areas had highly concentrated hospital markets in 2016, reflecting an era of rapid consolidation among hospital systems, according to a report from the Health Care Cost Institute.

Why it matters: The more hospitals that have monopolies or oligopolies in their markets, the higher the prices are for patients, which is reflected in the premiums everyone pays.