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Medicare pricing drives high healthcare costs

The Washington Post, January 2, 2014

Medicare may be best known for paying the medical bills for millions of people 65 and older, but recent studies show it plays another gargantuan role in American health care: It helps determine prices for everyone. For virtually every procedure and service — from routine colonoscopies to brain surgery and hospice care — Medicare comes up with a dollar figure that the government considers a fair price. But economists are finding that, largely because of the program's vast scale, Medicare prices substantially shape what all Americans pay for health care.