This morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is announcing a groundbreaking initiative that will take a lot of the secrecy out of hospital billings.One of the reason why health care is so fucking expensive in the US is that there is no price information between providers. A patient doesn't have any idea of what a procedure or treatment will cost until they are billed with it (regardless whether it is out of pocket expenses or paid by insurance).
Acting on the suggestion of her top data crunchers at the department’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Sebelius will release a data file that shows the list — or “chargemaster” — prices by all hospitals across the U.S. for the 100 most common inpatient treatment services in 2011. It then compares those prices with what Medicare actually paid hospitals for the same treatments — which was typically a fraction of the chargemaster prices. Time
A better pricing information across the country will cut the care costs in the US because now consumers will better information on which provider and services they will choose for their health care needs.
Time magazine has been widely praised by its reporting on these pricing disparity and opaqueness between health care providers on their Magnum Opus The Bitter Pill.