Ezra Klein is happy

I hadn't heard of this before but it seems good:

Page 12:

Each hospital operating within the United States shall for each year establish (and update) and make public (in accordance with guidelines developed by the Secretary) a list of the hospital’s standard charges for items and services provided by the hospital, including for diagnosis-related groups.

Pricing transparency!

Here is Ezra on insurance transparency in the bill.


I suspect that this comment on the original post is basically right.

"These prices are as useless as the ones on every hotel room door. Meanwhile, we are prevented from knowing the real amounts providers are accepting, because the Japan experience shows that gives consumers more power than the lobbyists want us to have."

I don't know what micro theory would apply, but providers are very secretive about the different deals they give different insurers.

Yeah, this doesn't make a lot of difference until most people actually pay the posted rates, and people actually care about what prices are charged (instead of caring about their co-payments.)

It's not a bad change, just not that significant.

I am especially amused by the part that requires hospitals to post what they charge for DRGs. Hospitals don't charge for DRGs. Hospitals are paid by the government and many insurance companies on the basis of DRGs, but the hospital doesn't set those prices. There is very little in this world less meaningful than hospital "prices."

It sounds good, but wait until the 500 pages of guidelines are issued.

I'm surprised how little public choice informs the analysis that Tyler posts. It doesn't inform the topics that he chooses to discuss. It doesn't inform the choice of sources of information. It's doesn't inform the analysis of ratification of proposals. It doesn't inform the implementation of laws. It doesn't inform the analysis of the consequences. Isn't really funny that someone celebrates transparency when the senators that are supposed to approve the law have not read it? It reminds me of what happend the past few weeks in Chile: the members of the board of the local office of Interantional Transparency have resigned because of lack transparency!!!! And you know why it was not transparent: because the local office had been financed mainly by the government!!! Crazy world--just the world of public choice.

I think they dropped the Botox tax and substituted the tanning bed tax to target Congressman Boehner.

That aside, it would be better to post aggregate transaction price data delayed by a year so that hospitals could not coordinate and would have an incentive to cheat. If they post MSRP, coordination is invited in concentrated markets, and what will probably happen is some kind of discount card you will get giving you 10% off an inflated price. You will be fooled, but, that's what you get.

Better to have transaction data. Better yet, post negotiated data from fed gov purchases, fed insurance purchases, so people see the discount of MSRP is actually nothing.

I live in Massachusetts. The health insurance company I have (Tufts) refused to tell me what it would pay my surgeon for a specific procedure. Tufts did say that the procedure was "covered." The surgeon said the price of the procedure was $1200.00, but he would accept the insurance company's payment as "payment in full." I guess that's ok. I wouldn't know how to judge the dollar value of the procedure anyway.

I think they dropped the Botox tax and substituted the tanning bed tax to target Congressman Boehner.

As opposed to targeting Speaker Pelosi with the original tax? Apparently some of the writers of the bill thought that cosmetic surgery was used by the Wrong Sort of People, but then they learned that some of the Right People used it too, so they're going after tanning beds, because only the uncouth use those, and it's always good to tax people for being the Wrong Sort.

I suppose one must laugh at this bill either way, because to take it seriously is to despair.

My first thought was that hospital prices are make-believe, so making them post them is just more cost.

My second thought, is so what if the prices aren't precise as long as they are relatively accurate.

Bill, you make a good point that this makes it like every other business. I just think that just might be an improvement!

What they should do is ban most favored customer clauses in hospital markets where the 4 firm concentration ratio exceeds 80%. This would put more instability into the system, since each hospital, knowing that the other hospital is not bound by an most favored customer clause, could cheat to get new business.

Look for more litigation on most favored nation and most favored customer clauses. If you were a hospital, you would also favor 'non-discrimination' statutes to force yourself and your competitors to stay with a coordinated list price.

Did Nelson get the toupee tax removed?

Others have made similar comments, but I wanted to sound in on this as well. The OP betrayed a frightening ignorance of the most basic elements of health care financing/economics. Fact 1: "List prices" have anything to do with what you pay at a hospital. Fact 2: there is huge price dispersion. I'm sorry, but you really compromised your credibility on anything involving health care economics.

The problem is on the pricing side...that what you are getting is MSRP and a coordination price...like telling the gas stations they must post the price, each watches the other, and when insert your credit card, you get a discount for this, discount if you use their credit card, if you are enrolled in this program, that program, etc.
tongkat ali

The whole health care insurance system is based on the wrong idea. You can't just offer health insurance business to companies that want to make a profit out of it. Somebody's health is not a toy for a company that wants to make profit. Health insurance should be guaranteed by the state itself and should be included in the taxes that each citizen pays every year. Vista bay rehab

I guess if all people will stand up for their right then a big problem will rise for all health care insurance companies.Somebodies life is not something with what they can play.Drug Treatment

Everybody deserves health care. Just think how much better the world would be if we really took care of each other. Isn't that the bottom line of all religions? Helping out your fellow man? If an addict needed drug inpatient rehab he could go there and get better. If a mother needed dental work for her son he could be taken care of in a timely fashion by a professional.

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