How Much Is That Again?


American health-care reformers routinely decry the inability of consumer-patients to compare prices of services to help drive down the costs. Two doctors, writing for the Journal of the American Medical Association in December, illuminated the problem by surveying 20 hospitals around Philadelphia. Nineteen fully disclosed prices for parking in the hospital garage (and potential discounts were shown), but only three of the 20 would disclose their prices for routine electrocardiograms ($137, $600, $1,200).

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