So, your commercial payers and local employers are looking at it, even if individual patients aren't—yet. That brings us to the health insurance exchanges, which, at least in states with significant payer competition, may prove another blow to high-cost hospitals.
What some hospital leaders don't seem to understand is that you are doing the work, and you're billing for it, despite how screwy the system is. So, although blame can be heaped upon the government for getting you into this mess—and the former CFO above makes a good case for that—you are at the end of the line. You're holding the bag on public perception.
Besides that, it's tough to successfully claim hardship when your hospital has that 10-story crane building a new patient tower and attached parking garage.
This is not an attempt to demonize hospitals. All I'm saying is don't be caught flat-footed as the high-cost leader in your area. Take small steps to rationalize your pricing structure so you don't have to make big gouges later, when the government, individuals and commercial insurers start to hold your feet to the fire. In the meantime, use this reprieve to find a better way. Let's stop being victims, shall we?