We hear it all the time from the state’s big hospital systems and their lobbyists: they must charge commercially insured patients more because they lose so much money on Medicare.

A report from the North Carolina State Health Plan finds that claim is simply false.

In fact, many systems make millions off Medicare and Medicare Advantage patients.

In 2020, according to the report, North Carolina hospitals made a total of $87 million in Medicare profits.

“Hospitals have long used what they report as losses on Medicare to justify charging patients with private insurance higher prices,” says Kaiser Health News.

North Carolina hospital lobbyists claimed they lost $3.1 billion on Medicare in 2020, which is why they need to charge privately insured patients 280 percent more than what they get from Medicare.

But what hospitals claim, and what the report shows, are two very different things.

If hospitals make $87 million in profits from Medicare, then what is the justification to inflate prices for the privately insured by almost 300 percent?

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