Hopefully, you have had a chance to take a peek at the Federal Database.
If not, here's the link again:
The price differences found at different medical facilities, even in the same geographic areas, impose a uniquely punishing burden on the estimated 49 million Americans who have no health insurance, experts say.
They are the only ones who see on their bill the dollar amounts listed on these official price lists.
Can anyone say "sticker shock?"
Yet , these very same prices effectively shape what nearly everyone pays for health care, because they determine how much private health insurance companies must surrender in reimbursement for services.
That in turn influences the size of the premiums that insurance companies charge their customers.
replacement runs anywhere between $15,000 and $155,000.
At two hospitals in the Los Angeles area, the cost of the same treatment for pneumonia varies by $100,000, according to the database.
That's staggering !!!
I did a quick review myself of Arizona hospitals to see how they faired.
It doesn't look good folks.
I chose a simple ultrasound procedure because that is a test we seem to have every couple of years.
Whether you have the procedure to test for cancer, you are checking for kidney stones, looking at muscle tears or having a baby (at our age?) it should, for all intents and purposes, be a relatively common test with the same set of procedures and equipment used by each and every hospital in the state.
Here's what I found.
The tests range from just under $200 at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale to over $1000 at Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City.
That is outrageous.
Of the 5 most expensive facilities for this procedure, 3 of them were Banner Medical Centers all of which are located in or near a designated retirement community.
That is shocking.
Surprisingly (or not), 4 out of 5 of the least expensive medical facilities are non profit and/or University run.
I will go out on a limb and make this assumption that the "best" or highest rated medical facilities in the state are the ones that charge the fairest prices.
That, my friends, is unbelievable.
one of the most troubling characteristics of the American health care system:
"Medical providers set their prices in ways that seem arbitrary, with little oversight and practically no market incentive to reduce them, because almost no one actually pays the official rates."
This data is actually "salt in the wound" as unexpected health care bills continue to be a leading cause of financial ruin for American families.
Uninsured and low-income people are often subject to aggressive debt collection by hospitals and their agents when their illnesses result in bills they cannot pay.
Even among people of means, skepticism about American health care is common.
This data just verifies our suspicions.
Americans typically pay higher prices for health care than people in other countries, without the benefit of higher-quality care or advanced health.
Health care spending continues to grow faster than the economy, though the rate of increase has slowed in recent years, prompting hopes that a fix may be materializing.
Is ObamaCare the way to repair this broken system?
I think not but that is just my opinion.
I guess we'll never know if we can't get into the system to sign up anyway.
In 1999, average charges billed to Medicare were equal to 104 percent of the cost to provide medical care, according to a report issued last June by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an expert panel that counsels Congress.
By 2010, the ratio had more than doubled to 218 percent.
That's like arbitrarily charging $2.18 for a candy bar that only costs $1.00.
I will also talk about a promising new website, HealthTap, a medical social network for users seeking personalized, public advice from registered doctors.
They will be releasing an eBay-like rating system for its more than 10,000 participating doctors and their relevant expertise.
Thanks for joining me.....................................................