Motown legend Smokey Robinson once advised: “You better shop around.” The Trump administration is trying to make it easier to shop around for health care.
The Department of Health and Human Services is weighing a proposed price-transparency rule, to make purchasing medical care more like the rest of the economy, and less like today’s opaque, baffling, frustrating mess.
Imagine if your grocery store operated like your local hospital. You would walk in and find no price tags on anything. But, being hungry, you would fill your shopping basket, leave the store without paying a dime, drive home, and make dinner.
Three months later, rather than receive one invoice from your grocer, a flood of bills would deluge your mail box: The butcher’s charge for ground beef: $75. The baker’s expense for hamburger buns: $125. The candlestick maker’s cost: $150 — each.
Few Americans have bought a quart of milk, a gallon of gas, or a pair of socks without checking its price tag. But almost no one has any idea what medical care costs. Since third-party insurance companies handle most bills, prices are virtually classified.