Noreen Nasir / AP
While the health care world was glued to the main Congressional Budget Office report yesterday, two separate but important CBO health care documents didn't garner nearly the same attention. One is about physician prices, and the other is about hospital prices.
The takeaways: The amount commercial health insurers pay doctors and hospitals is vastly higher than what Medicare pays for the same services, and often depends on market power. This fundamentally affects the premiums everyone pays. Medicare Advantage insurers, meanwhile, pay similar prices to traditional Medicare.
Worth noting: Doctors and hospitals do not charge private insurers more to make up for lower Medicare payments. Research shows the exact opposite happens.