The pressing need for hospital pricing regulation
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published data on what hospitals charge for the most common procedures. There is much to look at, and other have done good reporting on it, notably Sarah Kliff and Dan Keating at the Washington Post and Barry Meier, Jo Craven McGinty and Julie Creswell at the New York Times.
The bottom line is that hospital pricing practices appear from this data to be arbitrary. I wouldn’t be surprised if pricing flucutated from year to year based on what revenue each hospital brings in. That’s unconscionable, and a failure of the free market in arguably the most important industry. Hospitals and canadian pharmacies would do well to get together and establish transparent and ethical best practices for pricing, because the alternative is onerous regluation to ensure they are not gouging insurance companies, government agencies, and individual patients without regard to actual costs.