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Bill would keep hospital costs consistent for patients

A measure aimed at preventing hospitals from overcharging the uninsured is on its way to the governor's desk. Supporters say the bill would provide some key consumer protections to hospital patients. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The measure would prevent hospitals from charging the uninsured more than what MediCal or Medicare pays for the same service.

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar measure in 2004. He said he wanted to give hospitals time to adopt voluntary guidelines.

Anthony Wright is with the non-profit group Health Access. He says patients are still being overcharged.

Wright: "We've had people who go to a hospital for a two hour visit to the emergency room, and come out with a $5000, $10,000 or $15,000 bill, when an insurance company would only be paying hundreds of dollars for that exact same visit."

But hospitals contend they don't gouge the uninsured, and say they provide plenty of uncompensated and charity care. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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