Prices Prices Prices
Time to Stop Studying Price Transparency—and Start Implementing It
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  • Boritz

    Ask a random car dealer “How much?” for a car on his lot and count the hours it takes to get a firm answer. The deal can be complicated massively by a trade in which is why a car salesperon’s countenance will fall dramatically when they receive a negative response to the question “You have a trade-in”? They want the transaction to be complex.

    When buying high-end servers from the people who sell them it can take hours or days for their price-analyst to determine how much will be charged. Among the factors they consider are what have you bought from us in the past and what kind of repeat business are we anticipating in the future. The actual hardware being purchased is merely one factor in the pricing model.

    There is no literal price tag affixed to things that are complex because complexity works in favor of the seller and they aren’t going to give away their hand by making it easy and cheap for the consumer. If they are forced to list a price expect it to be high.

  • Andrew Allison

    Whilst agreeing wholeheartedly with the thrust of the post, the simple fact is that a surgeon can’t know what a procedure will cost. He or she should be able to provide an estimate for a routine procedure, with the caveat that it assumes that the procedure is routine. However, I had a minor surgical procedure earlier this year for which the ancillary (facility) costs were three times those of the surgeon and anesthesiologist combined, and which the surgeon had no way of knowing. Only the entity issuing the invoices has that information. It will come as no surprise, incidentally, that the facility accepted Medicare reimbursement of about a third of the amount billed as payment in full.

    • Boritz

      Right. Medicine is not the discipline that ascertains costs. That is the job of accounting and cost accounting in particular. I don’t want an accountant to perform surgery so the doc is excused from expert accounting duties. But look at the Wikipedia definition of cost accounting and it belies a secretive and, for the organization, a self-interested mission not necessarily in the best interest of the consumer.

      Cost Accounting is an internal reporting system for an organization’s own
      management for decision making. -Wikipedia

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