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Teaching hospitals, affiliated with medical schools, are the training grounds for the next generation of physicians. They cost more. The debate is over whether their increased cost is accompanied by better patient outcomes.

Teaching hospitals cost taxpayers more in part because Medicare pays them more, to compensate them for their educational mission. They also tend to command higher prices in the commercial market because the medical-school affiliation enhances their brand. Their higher prices could even cost patients more, if they are paying out of pocket.

To save money, insurers have started establishing hospital networks, and policy makers are considering ways to steer patients away from teaching hospitals. Those efforts may well save patients and taxpayers money. But how will that affect the quality of care?

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