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Schwarzenegger to decide on hospital bill


Aired 4/19/09

A nationwide review by Senate investigators finds non-profit hospitals often charge the uninsured more than people with health coverage. A bill that would prohibit that practice in California is awaiting a decision by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The bill would forbid hospitals from charging uninsured patients more than the rate Medicare or Medi-Cal pays. In addition, the measure would require hospitals to provide patients information about their consumer rights and payment options.

Ann O’Rourke is with the California Hospital Association. She questions whether the bill makes sense.

O'Rourke: Should we look at what hospitals already are doing before we overzealously legislate? And I think there is a reasonable body of work out there that demonstrates the community benefit not-for-profit hospitals provide.        

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar measure regarding hospital practices in 2004. There’s no word on whether he’ll sign this year’s version.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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