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There’s a lot of debate about how much a swine flu epidemic might cost. The UK is estimating anything from two to seven million quid if there’s a serious breakout this winter across the pond (that’s $3.3-11.5 million).

Its becoming increasingly clear here in the US that swine flu is already biting deep into hospital’s bottom lines.

Marketplace’s Joel Rose reported today that a severe flu pandemic could cost hospitals as much as $3.9 billion.

That’s in part because hospitals would see more uninsured patients. And there are only so many hospital beds. If lots of swine flu patients need those beds … hospitals would be forced to delay other procedures that aren’t as critical — but much more lucrative.

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