The number of people working for transparency in health care costs is growing. Drivers of this trend include the inexorable rise in costs, the results of that trend  and the health reform bill the Obama administration fought so hard for. Here’s one take on the issue:

“…High health care costs create significant suffering for American families, businesses, and governments. Other leading nations spend half or less of what we do on health care, making it increasingly difficult for American families to retain their standard of living and for American businesses to compete in a global economy. ..

“Considering the impact of health care spending, and the waste associated with it, how is it that consumers of the largest sector of our economy know so little about price?”

Under the current system, patients and their doctors have neither the incentive nor the information needed to keep costs down. Perhaps more worrying, many patients equate higher prices with better care even when higher costs may be the result of complications and other dangerous variations.

“If experience from other industries holds true, most patients will not check with a value comparison tool before choosing a physician, hospital, or treatment. But as little as about 15 percent of consumers can shape a market. That’s in part because transparent markets tend to drive themselves to lower cost and higher quality across producers and across the continuum of services.” (Emphasis mine.)

The article, by Louise Probst of the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition, was published on the blog of the Commonwealth Fund,  which describes itself as “a private foundation working toward a high performance health care system.”

Why does health care cost so much, and what can we do about it? Well, for one, we can try to be better consumers. For another, we can encourage transparency in health care costs.

For the full article, click here.

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...