Some states are trying to control health care costs by tying hospital payments in their state employee health plans to the amounts Medicare pays, Kaiser Health News reports.
Details: States experimenting with these measures include North Carolina, Montana, Oregon and potentially, Delaware.
The other side: This is a nightmare scenario for hospitals, which usually charge private insurance plans several times more than they get from Medicare.
- Hospitals say Medicare underpays them, and they must charge private patients more to recoup the costs.
Reality check: Hospitals are doing very well financially, although it's also true that many rural hospitals — which have a lot of Medicaid patients — are already struggling.
What they're saying: "Government workers will get it first, then everyone else will see the savings and demand it," Glenn Melnick, a professor at the University of Southern California, told KHN. "This is the camel's nose. It will just grow and grow."
Go deeper: How hospitals protect high prices