Earlier this month, CMS made available the amounts hospitals charge for the top 100 most frequently billed discharges paid under Medicare. The charges vary wildly not only across the country, but sometimes across the state or even city. For example, one hospital in Manhattan charged $8,900 for hypertension, while another across town charged $23,700 for the same condition. Those same two hospitals charge $17,700 and $94,400 respectively for renal failure with a major complication or comorbid condition. While hospitals do not set the rate at which they are reimbursed by Medicare, they do set the amount they charge. In some cases, hospitals actually bill for amounts that are three to five times what Medicare typically reimburses for the given procedure. In fact, the Manhattan hospital from the previous example charges more than five times the Medicare rate for renal failure. Hospitals say that their higher bills are likely due to the fact that their individual patients were sicker and required more care. Regardless of why some hospitals charge more than others, the information is stirring debate among healthcare experts about controlling healthcare costs. Download the Medicare Provider Charge Data from the CMS website and see how hospitals in your area compare.