The Non Free Market American Health System

One of the problems with the US Health System is that politicians are constantly treating health policy as if it is a free market. Policies like exchanges are supposed to improve choice for American health consumers however, the market aspect of it is broken at its most basic level. Finding out what something costs is impossible and in many cases the hospitals and doctors do not know either.

But I followed my doctor's advice, called Newton-Wellesley Hospital and asked for the price of the test. My doctor didn't know, I got transferred to radiology, I got transferred to billing. Billing said they would call me back. They didn't. I couldn't even get a ballpark estimate. ...

When I couldn't get through to Newton-Wellesley, I tried Mass General, which is what we usually hear is the most expensive and best hospital in the country to go to. They were $5,315. That's for an uninsured patient. For one MRI.

But they couldn't tell me what my rate was going to be as an insured patient. They said they didn't have that information. So I hit another wall with another hospital.


When I had shoulder surgery I did the same thing as the insurance I had at the time would pay for 90% of the cost and I would be up for 10% of it. Naturally I was concerned if the procedure was $100,000 then it was going to cost me 10K and I wanted to shop around to know how much I was liable for. I had the same problem as the reporter in this article. I could not get a price out of anyone. The best I could do was being told that I was going to have to pay 10% of the price which I knew already.

There is no price transparency in the US Health system. Consequently it is broken and the policies the government is trying to leverage to make it a free market are not working. The US has one of the most expensive systems in the world. I would prefer that the US adopted one of the working health care systems such as Australia's, France's or Germany's. It would be an improvement. I suspect that Medicare and Medicaid will slowly expand to cover more and more people until the US has single payer but it will probably take another 20 years to do.
cam 2012-12-11 07:32:43.0