The Hospital-Insurance Complex: A mortal blow?
Heritage Valley Health System just might have started a revolution. But it's likely not the one it thinks or necessarily wants.
The health network, with hospitals in Sewickley and Brighton, says it will be the first in the region to post on its website the prices of 25 common outpatient procedures, applicable only to the uninsured. It wants “self-payers” to know in advance what their obligations will be. Now there's a novel idea, eh?
But if ever there were a crack in a wall that deserves to be a gaping hole in advance of the wall toppling, hospital pricing is it. And if this sets the stage for all prices to be posted — for those without insurance and those with and industrywide — the real and necessary revolution in health care soon could be pounding on the door.
Posted prices for all will lead to competition among hospitals and lower prices. But, and more importantly, it will go a long way in arresting what we'll call the Hospital-Insurance Complex. As insurance has devolved to cover just about everything and for a modest co-pay — and unnecessarily increasing utilization rates in the process — hospitals have been able to jack up prices.
But not only will posting prices lower consumer costs, it should force insurance carriers to make their product what it's supposed to be — coverage only for catastrophic medical events.
Only then will the beast that is health care begin to be tamed.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.