We don't often reprint issue letters - the type that encourage people to sign a petition on some issue, for example. But this one advocates for an idea on health care we've been supporting for years, and now it might become actual state law. The mail comes from the public interest organization OSPIRG.
We all know health care still costs too much. But how much does it cost? If you’ve ever asked, you know: They won’t tell you.
Why? Because, unlike every other business in America, hospitals get to keep their prices a secret. As a result, they get away with charging outrageous prices and surprising fees, often for routine procedures.
A bill to make Oregon’s hospitals post their actual prices online is scheduled for its first vote next Monday. Hospital and insurance industry lobbyists are working to defeat the proposal. Will you stand with us?
Tell your state lawmakers: Make hospitals post their prices.
Not too long ago, my friend’s wife cut her finger deeply and went to the emergency room. The doctor gave her a tetanus shot and a few dabs of a skin adhesive called Indermil. A few weeks later, they got a bill for $2,300. They charged her $1000 for the skin glue alone, even though it can be purchased online for $40 a tube.
What other business gets away with that?
When pressed on why they can’t just post their actual prices, hospitals will tell us it is too difficult and too complicated.
But it isn’t, really. They already know their prices – they just don’t want to make them public. In fact, hospitals and insurance companies actually have written agreements to keep the prices they negotiate a secret.
This is absurd and we should not tolerate it a moment longer. Inflated prices due to lack of competition and excessive price variation have led to $105 billion in waste in health care spending each year.
It is time to get the health care industry to do what every other business in America does.