Hospital Price Discrimination Is Deepening Racial Health Inequity

Abstract: Data from hospital cost reports and clinical quality measures collected by the Lown Institute illustrates unequal facility usage by Medicaid patients in four of the country’s largest hospital referral regions. In Los Angeles, hospitals with clinical quality above the national median allocate just 23% of inpatient days to individuals with Medicaid, as compared with 54% of inpatient days for hospitals in the bottom two quality quartiles. Similar disparities emerge in New York and Houston, albeit to a lesser degree. In all these markets, many facilities with the highest objective quality scores serve very few Medicaid patients, who instead rely on publicly run facilities and small private hospitals with relatively poor clinical quality.