When it comes to American health care, the impossible often transforms into the routine. Add another feature to the list —hospital costs.As I write in my new book “Healthy Without Health Insurance,” people look at their medical/hospital bills and notice “an extra zero. Make that two zeroes.”Consider appendectomies.
As reported by Roni Rabin in the 4/24/12 New York Times, Renee Hsia, an ER doc at UCSF, investigated prices for appendectomies in northern California. All were uncomplicated. The patients were home within four days. sides.
So here we have a standard procedure, people out quickly, something you can fit it under any number of medical protocols. Clearly prices for this typical, common surgical procedure should not vary that much. Right? Yet the cost differential was between $1,500 and $182,000—for the same procedure. Or as Dr. Hsia put it, “We expected to see variations of two or three times the amount, but this is ridiculous. There’s no rhyme or reason for how patients are charged or how hospitals come up with charges.