Hospital Chargemaster Insanity: Heeling the Healers

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“I argue that the government needs to step in, not to take over responsibility for providing healthcare, but just the opposite, to eliminate the chargemaster pricing system…………”

Hospital Chargemaster Insanity: Heeling the Healers

By George A. Nation III

Hospital list prices, contained in something called a chargemaster are insanely high, often running ten times the amount that hospitals routinely accept as full payment from insurers. Moreover, the relative level of a particular hospital’s chargemaster prices bears no relationship to either the quality of the services the hospital provides or to the cost of the services provided. The purpose of these fictitious list prices is to serve as a starting point or anchoring point for negotiations with third-party payers.

Creating a more competitive healthcare market is necessary in order for the United States to continue to provide the highest quality healthcare in the world. The chargemaster pricing system has been a significant factor in the destruction of the competitive market for healthcare. I argue here that the government needs to step in, not to take over responsibility for providing healthcare, but just the opposite, to eliminate the chargemaster pricing system and allow a more competitive market in healthcare to flourish, which will allow each individual to take greater responsibility for their own acquisition of healthcare goods and services. The purpose of the solution I argue for here is to empower individuals to force hospitals to compete on the basis of price and quality

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