As the House and Senate start to hammer out a unified health overhaul bill, some hospitals are already shaping up as winners.
The formula Medicare uses to pay hospitals would get rejiggered under language in both the House and Senate bills to pay more to hospitals that provide better value for the money, the Washington Post reports.
The winners would be places like the Mayo Clinic, touted by President Obama as a model for high-quality care at a good price.
But with Medicare money already tight and likely to get even harder to come by under overhaul, there would be losers too. Inner-city hospitals and those in the South could left out in the cold.
J. Thomas Rosenthal, chief medical officer of the UCLA Medical System, tells the Post, the winning hospitals will crow, " 'You people are wasteful and we're not, and we deserve it.' "
Separately, the Mayo Clinic has been catching heat for refusing new Medicare patients at a primary care practice affiliated with its branch in Arizona. On a Mayo Clinic blog, a spokesman wrote the decision only affects a five-doctor practice. Still, he explained, "Mayo Clinic loses a substantial amount of money every year due to the reimbursement schedule under Medicare."
That may soon change.