NEWS OF THE WEIRD

That's Some Expensive Saline

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It's well known that hospitals charge for medical supplies far in excess of what the products would cost at drugstores, but an August New York Times investigation of "saline drips" vividly demonstrated the disconnect. Though Medicare reimburses $1.07 for a 1-liter plastic bag of saltwater (supplied by a subsidiary of Morton Salt), White Plains (N.Y.) Hospital charged patients' insurance companies like Aetna $91 per bag. Other hospitals decline to charge per-bag, listing only "IV therapy" of, for example, $787 for hooking up the drip.

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