When Congress went on its Independence Day recess last week, the raging negotiations over the federal balanced-budget legislation took a brief hiatus. But when the dust had settled, some cracks in the healthcare industry lobby were exposed.
It's becoming a dog-eat-dog world as hospitals and other providers push for their own pet Medicare and Medicaid projects at the expense of others in their own field.
A small group of large, politically connected urban hospitals with big capital projects in the works are seeking millions of dollars in extra Medicare capital payments at the expense of other hospitals (See story, this page).
Public hospitals, represented by the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, are fighting the American Hospital Association over which hospitals will receive extra Medicaid payments for treating the poor (See story, this page).
The American Medical Association has sided with medical specialists in their battle against primary-care doctors over how Medicare pays docs for their practice expenses (See p. 8).
And even plans by the Department of Veterans Affairs to open new outpatient clinics have been tainted by politics (See p. 8).
Congress reconvenes this week. Keep your hands on your wallet.