Majette Comments on Variations in Health Care Costs, an on-line resource for everything concerning credit cards, recently posted an article on its website entitled, Why Do Credit Card Costs Vary So Widely?  Following the article, the site included comments by experts in the field, including C|M|LAW Professor Gwendolyne Roberts Majette.  The post describes the findings of a recent report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showing that the prices  hospitals charge insurance providers vary widely within and among regions, states, and even  individual hospitals.

Following the article, experts in the field were asked “What do you make of [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’] findings?”

Majette said that “The use and purchase of health care services is unlike other services.  Health care is one of the few services that individuals receive without knowing the price in advance.  This is because many people use some type of insurance to purchase these services.  It is also because health care is ‘special.’  Receipt of health care can prevent death, serious illness, disability, and the spread of contagious diseases.  Thus there is a desire to not allow costs to prevent receipt of necessary care.”

The mere fact that CMS is collecting and publishing this data will affect future prices because consumers, regulators, and researchers can use the information to comparison shop and begin to investigate further the reasons for the price variation.  Additionally, the hospitals themselves now know what their competitors’ prices are and they will have to justify the prices they charge in the future.  Antitrust laws preclude hospitals from sharing their prices with each other.”

To read the full post, see:

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