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Associated Press

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s Supreme Court will decide whether patients who object to hospital bills can get a court to decide whether they’re unreasonably expensive.

The court heard Monday from Robert Talford of Charlotte, who was charged more than $14,000 for a three-day stay for heart problems. He says the hospital should have to prove to a judge why it’s reasonable to charge him up to 24 times more than a local pharmacy for medications.

The state’s hospitals want the high court to rule they can collect overdue bills without a trial.

Lawyers for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority say of course a pill is cheaper at a street-corner drug store because the cost of that pill in the hospital also pays for nurses, doctors and maintaining a constantly clean and supervised room.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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