The Price of Health Care

Health care prices remain locked in a black box, and doctors are often impervious to them even when the costs of care are known. To make health care more value-oriented, Aaron E. Carroll’s suggestion for involving both physicians and patients simultaneously could be an effective approach.

A recent study by Public Agenda confirms that 70 percent of Americans want their doctors to discuss prices with patients before making referrals or ordering tests. Furthermore, it found that more than half of Americans don’t know that doctors charge different prices for the same service. Sparking conversations on price transparency between doctors and patients can help pierce that veil of ignorance.

Various initiatives are underway to do just that: Encourage physicians to help their patients assess medical-financial trade-offs and choose appropriate but less costly alternatives.

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