, Muskogee, OK

February 11, 2014

Price list of health care has merit

— People ought to be able to afford to be well.

That’s why State Rep. Arthur Hulbert’s proposed bill should be approved during the legislative session.

House Bill 2400 requires all hospitals and surgical centers that bill Medicaid for medical procedures performed to provide lists for the full costs for procedures that would be borne solely by a patient if no third party assumed a portion of the charges and amounts that would be reimbursed by Medicaid or Medicare.

The bill is common sense, and we’re glad to see Hulbert addressing the issue.

“The health care industry is the only industry I know of where the consumer is not aware of the costs of the goods or services before they access them,” Hulbert told the Phoenix. “If an individual is required to assume financial responsibility of a procedure, they should have some idea what the costs will be ahead of time.”

We agree. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant, order a meal, eat it, and then pay what the restaurant tells you to pay. That’s what a menu is for, so you can decide whether you can afford to eat there, or if you will go somewhere else where you can afford it.

That’s the idea of a free enterprise — you know what you’re getting charged.

One of the reasons health care costs so much is because hospitals and medical facilities pass on the cost of those who don’t pay to those who do. This is not fair.

Aspirin shouldn’t cost upwards of $10 per pill. But that’s all too often what is charged to those who don’t have insurance. This also is not fair.

Requiring a list for the full cost provides transparency to a system that has very little.

It’s a solid proposal, and it should be addressed.