I complain about U.S.healthcare costs a lot and for good reason. However I also have a selfish reason for my anger against the current system.
Sometimes it isn’t about my inability to pay a high medical bill; it’s that I simply don’t want to…in the same way I don’t want to spend more than X amount for a leather purse. (My personal purse price threshold is $300 but I only paid that much one time)
Of course there is an obvious difference between healthcare and consumer goods/services. You can easily walk away from a pretty purse; it is not so easy (or wise) to walk away from a specialist visit or medical testing ordered for your benefit.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my cousins saved big bucks on a MRI when she bypassed the insurer-approved radiology lab and went to a profit-drive MRI center that advertised $250 per test.
Most people with insurance, however, will go to the doctor-recommended radiology lab. They will likely pay even more than someone without insurance who gets a “cash price”. Healthcare providers routinely set higher prices to offer discounts to insurance companies. To me, it is no better than price gouging.
Sure, there are business costs for operating a medical practice. However, operating costs alone do not explain the disparity in pricing. If you want to compare apples to apples, search for a medical procedure and average pricing in your area. You will be astounded by the wide range of prices.
Healthcare providers don’t offer a consistent reason for their pricing practices. And because healthcare pricing is shroud in secrecy, they do not have incentive to offer competitive prices.
Most Americans probably feel that the radiology lab and other healthcare providers are entitled to make a profit. However the question is how much is enough….10% profit? 50%? 1000% or higher? A transparent marketplace would allow consumers to compare and give incentive ti offer fairer prices.
As I said, it is the lack if transparency and unjustifiable high prices that bothers me the most. I’d rather spend my hard-earned money on a pair of shoes…No, just kidding. I would probably spend it on home renovations.