Price Transparency Comes to Northern California
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  • “charge for anesthesia on a flat-fee basis going forward”

    Not sure what this means. A standard rate for anesthesia regardless of complications? For all customers?

    (My medical history should be titled, “Adventures in Anesthesia.” There’s something different each time.)

  • Anthony

    Again, serious issue for public policy discussion remains the “selling of health care”.

  • ljgude

    The US healthcare system routinely overcharges a minimum of 5% of GDP . That is about $750 billion. Switzerland, the second most expensive healthcare system after the US runs at 11% of GDP. Most OECD countries around 9%-10% of GDP. The ACA capps US expenditure to 17.5% of GDP by 2017. So the iceberg of double spending on medicine was already buried deep in the bowels of the US economy before Obama. Adding another 1.5% of GDP to the superstructure of this Titanic boondoggle only increases the likelihood of capsizing. This case is important because much of the looting is based on hospitals undisclosed list of arbitrarily high list prices called “The Chargemaster”. Just Google Bitter Pill to read the PDF Time Magazine published earlier this year.

  • qet

    While I agree with Via Meadia that disaggregated price information is vital to shifting more of the responsibility for health care purchasing to individual consumers, I would think that the current payors–insurance companies–have vast quantities of actual price data from all medical providers, so that the actual pricing is and has been fully known to them for some time. Yet possession of that knowledge has not resulted in reduction of costs.
    And in reply to Anthony–medicine in the US is and has always been a for-profit business, The formal organization of a firm as a “non-profit” entity is meaningless. As in all for-profit businesses, products are vigorously marketed and sold by salesmen, and differential pricing is always a key component of success. We can deplore that until the cows come home, but the alternative is the UK’s NHS. I mean, the actual cost of that suit Via Meadia just bought at Nieman’s is probably $50 or less, yet Via Meadia willingly paid $2,500 for it. I, however, bought the same suit at TJ Maxx for $150. Transparent pricing did nothing to prevent Via Meadia from spending an excessive amount, but you can’t mandate the elimination of Nieman’s and require all suits to be sold by TJ Maxx. TJ Maxx gets its suits from Nieman’s unsold inventory, so you can’t sell the suit for $150 unless someone else is willing to buy it for $2,500.

    • Anthony

      Capitalism inheres profitability (inter alia) and medicine/health care part of capitalist framework ergo… However as health care policy currently discussed focuses on providers, attention to sellers is generally not part of overall policy discussion (Avik Roy has done research on why paying attention to how health care is sold may be worth a policy look if you’re interested). Thanks.

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