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The researchers looked at some 110,000 births and Caesarean sections, finding that the lowest charge was $3,296 and the highest was $37,227 — a trend that is mirrored throughout the U.S. health care system. Even when the researchers adjusted the hospital expenses to focus on patients with similar backgrounds, ages, and time spent in the hospital, they still found that the differences in what people were paying were significant. The study states in its conclusion: “These results indicate that charges and discounted prices for two common, relatively homogeneous diagnosis groups — uncomplicated vaginal delivery and Caesarean section — vary widely between hospitals and are not well explained by observable patient or hospital characteristics.”
“Health care pricing is kind of like the Wild West,” Dr. Renee Y. Hsia, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of emergency medicine at University California San Francisco, told Kaiser Health News. “There is no real system of health care pricing. The ‘system’ is that hospitals are allowed to charge whatever they want and whatever they feel they merit.” In a study completed earlier, Hsia had reviewed the different prices for appendectomy in California. She found that they ranged from $1,500 to $182,955. “It’s not an exception, it’s the rule in the United States,” she said.
“It is absurd — and, indeed, unconscionable — that the people least capable of paying for their hospital care bear the largest, and often unaffordable, cost burdens.”
Well, 'free' is something of a misnomer. You pay one way or the other, but if it is like Canada, for the most part it's buried in the general tax rate.
originally posted by: nunyabizness
We (Americans) can learn a lot from Australia. Free healthcare and free education are just 2 examples of many, many ways they are "ahead" of us