California Officials Want Transparency In Health Care Pricing

Steven Senne / AP
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California officials want to publish the prices of medical services online so that patients can make more informed health care choices.

People like to research prices before they make a big purchase - and that goes for everything from cars to surgery. At least, that’s what Democratic Assemblymember Roger Hernandez says. He says his bill would create a website that lists costs of medical procedures, so that consumers can find the best deal.

“It’s important for consumers to be equipped with the information that will give them the power to question billing practices, to question a procedure that they feel they’re being overcharged for, and thus maybe the insurance company is being overcharged for,” Hernandez says.

The website would display the amount charged for a healthcare service, and how much was actually paid. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones supports the idea of an online database.

“When you think about it, for every other good or service that we purchase, you can see a price list, but not medical services. And the prices vary all over the place. Even from the same medical provider,” Jones says.

Jones says there may be legal impediments to making more health pricing information publically available. 

 




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