Remember how all the states were graded on healthcare price transparency and all the states — well, most all the states — failed?

Almost everything else in our life has a pricetag. We all know how to comparison shop. And yet, with healthcare: the rules are, inscrutibly, different.

We’re given two possible obstacles in this piece at

(1) Lack of political will to enact price-transparency measures (these “may be seen as anti-business or as imposing additional costs on the healthcare industry,” according to Shana Alex Lavarreda, Ph.D., M.P.P., director of health insurance studies and a research scientist at UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research, in Los Angeles)

(2) Now cohesive way that the states have developed to collect and share the information about healthcare prices. “Electronic medical records help with creating this infrastructure, and certainly all providers have billing departments,” Lavarreda notes. “But pooling all of those separate information streams together into something viable to release publicly can be difficult.”, too, has a piece about healthcare cost transparency. This lack of transparency, according to Giovanni Colella, is “a complete market failure in one-sixth of the nation’s economy that has a direct impact on the bottom line of corporate America, wages of workers, and, by extension, on the economic prospects of the country.”

Fixes offered by

1) “Health insurance companies should refuse to agree to “gag clauses” with hospitals who do not want their prices made public.”

2) “Insurers, along with the thousands of businesses who self-insure, should demand that providers in their networks provide an estimate of costs for non-emergency procedures and of total costs of treatment.”

3) “Corporate America also should demand that health insurance companies – and Medicare, for that matter – release volume and outcome data so both patients and companies can connect price to quality and determine if higher prices are actually worth it.”

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