The state's healthcare industry is waiting on a ruling on the agreement between the Attorney General and Partners HealthCare that would allow them to acquire Hallmark and South Shore hospitals.

The expansion of Partners HealthCare has been an issue in the Commonwealth for years. Some say the network's ongoing acquisition of hospitals has made Partners a monopoly and bad for consumers. Partners says it's all about serving the communities and providing better care. A superior court judge is now considering partners' latest move to acquire South Shore Hospital and Hallmark Health and will consider public comments on the case.

What do Patriots Owner Bob Kraft, Newton Mayor Setti Warren and Boston University Professor Alan Sager have in common? They’ve all gone on the record either for or against Partners HealthCare going from big to bigger.

“There are no villains in this," said Sager, professor of health policy and management at BU. "I think the original Partners maneuver to merge stemmed from fear, not greed.”

Sager’s referring to the 1993 Partners merger between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass General Hospital. Now he’s among those who have filed public comments against more hospital takeovers, writing the following to Attorney General Martha Coakley.

"Partners has claimed that its various mergers and affiliations sought to save money and have saved money," Sager wrote. "But Partners has adduced no credible evidence to support those claims. Therefore no one should believe Partners’ assertions that still more combinations will save money."

Sager and 135 others have officially chimed in. Those in favor of Partners’ expansion includes Timothy O’Leary, deputy director of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health.

“We’re big fans of Partners because over the past 10 years, while other hospitals and health care systems are closing psychiatric units because its difficult to make money on them, Partners has been expanding theirs,” O'Leary said.

But the expansion isn’t unifying the business community.

“We looked at the agreement the attorney general struck with Partners and concluded, as did the Health Policy Commission, that this would actually increase costs to employers and consumers,” said Richard Lord, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

But Neil Sullivan of the Boston Private Industry Council points out that Partners is the largest employer in the commonwealth with 60,000 workers, and provides other societal benefits.

“Partners’ hospitals provides hundreds of internships and career paths for Boston Public High School Students," Sullivan said.

Others who filed written comments did not want to talk publicly about them, an indication of how political charged the issue is. And Coakley recently responded to public scrutiny by drawing up a new version of the agreement, which will most likely draw additional input. The real decision, however, will come from Judge Janet Sanders sometime after her hearing.