Health Affairs, May 17, 2013

The release of average charges for common procedures in more than 3,000 U. S. hospitals last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) elicited divergent reactions ? not surprisingly. On one hand, it was front-page news for most of the major newspapers: "Hospital Billing Varies Wildly, Government Billing Data Shows," was the headline in the New York Times. The article went on to speculate that these new data would likely "intensify a long debate over the methods that hospitals use to determine their charges." On the other hand the data were "old hat" to most health policy analysts.
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