Several hospital systems are lobbying Medicare to stop basing certain payments on their sticker prices, also known as “chargemasters” — prices the Trump administration has required them to disclose publicly.
The intrigue: Hospitals aren’t advocating for lower Medicare payments. They want to reduce the prices they list publicly while retaining the same Medicare revenues.
How it works: Hospitals have a chargemaster that lists the rack rates of every service, test, and procedure.
Those prices are relevant for people who are uninsured and for people who get out-of-network services, but they don’t reflect the net price that’s negotiated with private health insurers.
However, Medicare bases a handful of hospital payments based on those chargemaster prices — including things like “outlier” payments for patients who are extraordinarily expensive.