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WASHINGTON — There are few things that get lawmakers in Washington salivating more than a wonky policy that saves the federal government a whole lot of money.

As debate in the Capitol rages about the future of the Medicare program, hospitals are worried that lawmakers could finally be considering a change they hate — so-called site neutral payment policy. It’s somewhat of a unicorn on Capitol Hill — it saves the federal government tens of billions of dollars, reduces patient costs, and it’s gained bipartisan support over the years.


The policy would ensure Medicare pays the same price for the same medical services, regardless of whether they are provided at a hospital or at a physician’s office. If Congress aggressively pursued the policy, it could save the federal government more than $100 billion, by one recent estimate. It could also help reduce incentives that encourage consolidation, experts say.

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