We’re short on hospital beds because Washington let too many hospitals merge

The United States is on the brink of a hospital capacity crisis. It has fewer than 1 million hospital beds nationally, far below the predictions of what will be needed to treat those who become seriously ill from the novel coronavirus outbreak. There are many reasons the U.S. health-care system is so ill-equipped to handle a crisis of this magnitude. One of them is the decades-long trend of hospital mergers and closures that have reduced access to care in communities across the nation.

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