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Opinion: Congress can't cut Medicare hospital outpatient payments

US News & World Report, January 29, 2013

America's hospitals are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide for the healthcare needs of their communities. Hospitals provide emergency services around-the-clock as well as emergency back-up for other settings of care; disaster preparedness; and a wide range of personnel and equipment. However, these "stand-by capacity" services make hospital-level care more expensive—and these essential public services are not explicitly funded by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance. To provide these vital services, facility fees and other costs are spread across all hospital services, including outpatient care.