Sunday, January 4, 2009

Health care costs are ridiculous

I am learning just how bad our health care is first hand. I had to have surgery at the hospital. While there I was given a blood glucose test. I am a diabetic so I happen to know that a testing strip costs about $1 but at the hospital I was charged $6.50. Can anyone explain this price discrepancy? I can understand a mark up, but 600% is ridiculous. Amazingly (but not surprisingly) no one in the hospital knows how much anything costs and they can't/won't tell you. It is not until some huge bill comes that you have any idea how much they charge. I really think we need some transparency in our medical care and the way to do that is to introduce some free market competition. The fact that insurance pays for everything and no one has any incentive to shop around or conserve on costs is precisely what has led us (and unfortunately me) into this predicament. We would be better off giving everyone money directly and have them purchase health care directly. Heck, I would even be okay with the government offering catastrophic care as long as routine costs were charged directly to the patient. This would then create price awareness and sensitivity that we sorely lack.


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