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1 sagehen  Tue, Feb 12, 2013 7:10:28pm

I’m with the hospitals who couldn’t provide an estimate — until they’ve examined the patient and looked at her records, how the hell are they supposed to even guess how long the operation will take, how much staff will be involved, what materials they’ll need, how long she’ll be hospitalized and how much physical therapy and other after-care she’ll need?

2 EiMitch  Tue, Feb 12, 2013 7:42:13pm

re: #1 sagehen

Well, duh. Of course surgery is too complicated to give an accurate price over the phone. But I thought that was the reason they were called “estimates.”

IMO, an estimated price range shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Besides, we’ve got a problem with healthcare costs. What costs what and where is at least a piece of the puzzle, is it not?

3 Vicious Babushka  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 6:09:50am

62-year-old needs a hip replacement?

Oh wait, fictitious granny.

4 Skip Intro  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 9:10:57am

re: #1 sagehen

I’m with the hospitals who couldn’t provide an estimate — until they’ve examined the patient and looked at her records, how the hell are they supposed to even guess how long the operation will take, how much staff will be involved, what materials they’ll need, how long she’ll be hospitalized and how much physical therapy and other after-care she’ll need?

A major part of the GOP “healthcare” plan is the idea that by replacing Medicare with vouchers, consumers will be encouraged to shop around for the best deal for elective surgery. This study shows that’s bullshit.

It won’t stop the GOP from claiming this is the solution to the high cost of healthcare, though.

5 lawhawk  Wed, Feb 13, 2013 11:18:31am

Look, there are procedures that are carried out at hospitals all the time, but trying to find out what the average cost is like going to a tarot card reader.

Want to know what a standard ob/gyn birth is? Good luck. The prices can be all over the map, even within the same geographical region and among hospitals with similar reputations.

Transparency in costs is something that will facilitate more cost controls than anything else. Insurance companies have started with this; Aetna lets you search average costs for procedures. It’s a rough guide, but it’s better than nothing at all.

I get that a given procedure could cost more or less than the average stated by a given hospital, but the hospitals have done enough of the procedures to know what an average stay, average medical costs, and average surgical times are for a given procedure.

Opening up this basic knowledge should have significant cost-cutting consequences because people would begin to realize that they’d get similar levels (or same level considering that some docs have privileges at nearby facilities) of care for much less. Since the hospitals need to maintain a certain occupancy level to justify beds, they should hopefully seek to reduce the costs accordingly to remain competitive.


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