Hospitals want to shift more costs to payers, businesses

Maryland's hospitals propose shifting more costs to private payers and businesses as the state expects to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years due to cuts Medicare and Medicaid, reported Kaiser Health News.

The proposal floated by the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) would increase the price for a typical inpatient admission by about $900, according to Kaiser Health News. The proposal is expected to generate about $350 million a year in additional revenue.

"If you look at the rest of the U.S. today, Medicare and Medicaid as federal payers are paying a lower share of cost than they do in Maryland, and the private sector is paying a higher share of cost in the rest of the world than they do in Maryland," MHA CEO Carmela Coyle told Kaiser Health News. "We think it's time to rebalance."

Maryland has a unique pricing system in the United States. It is the only state that sets its own specific prices for hospital care. It is permitted under federal law so long as prices do not rise faster than in the rest of the country. But according to Kaiser Health News, Maryland has been bumping up against that limit, and the state's budget has been stressed by those increases.

Medicare revenue also is expected to slow under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as hospitals will not be paid for some forms of readmissions, and will prompted to introduce other efficiencies, according to Time magazine. And while the Medicaid program will be expanded, disproportionate share payments to hospitals also will be eliminated.

The MHA proposal could go into effect as early as next year, according to Kaiser Health News.

For more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the Time magazine article

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