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Friday, June 2nd 2006

Costs Like Clear Glass

Medicare is publishing the average prices it pays hospital for 30 elective procedures, so that the patients it covers can make more informed decisions. It is a move in the right direction.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the Medicare health program for over 43 million elderly and disabled people, is posting the average price Medicare pays for 30 common elective procedures broken down by U.S. county.

Health care costs are generally opaque in the United State, in part because intermediaries like health insurers and employers finance much of the system for patients. Experts have said Americans know more about the quality and pricing of their cars than their health care.