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Two of the cities largest hospital systems approved merger plans Thursday.

The state’s largest hospital system, Advocate Health Care is teaming with NorthShore University Health System.  The union will create a 16 hospital, $6.8 billion system that promises to change the competitive landscape of health care in the Chicago area.

The merger is a response to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.  Tighter hospital finances have forced longtime competitors to pair up.
Combined the new system is expected to serve 3 million patients a year at over 350 facilities throughout the area.