For an industry fighting to maintain credibility, May 8, 2013, was a bad day.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dropped a bomb on health care providers with its massive data release detailing average inpatient charges for the 100 most-billed discharges at 3,000 hospitals, along with the average Medicare payments for those same cases. (A less elaborate set of information for outpatient services came out in June.) Rarely has a CMS data release made such headlines. The inpatient files were downloaded 300,000 times in the first month.

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