Officials say the nation's hospitals are near a deal with the White House and a key lawmaker to pick up part of the cost of President Barack Obama's plan for expanded health coverage.
These officials say under the emerging agreement, the hospitals would accept lower-than-anticipated payments under Medicare and Medicaid, the federal health care programs for seniors and the poor. A precise number was not available, although several days ago, talks were focused in the range of $150 billion to $155 billion over a decade.
Spokesmen at the nation's largest hospital groups either could not be reached or declined comment. The officials who described the talks would not be identified by name, citing confidential negotiations.