There’s no reason for hospitals, doctors to lose the transparency debate

I launched The Dose with a post about the general use-lessness of the hopsital price data released in May by the Obama adminsitration.

For what it's worth, the Journal of the American Medical Association, published by the nation's largest doctors' group, agrees with me.

In a perspective piece published on July 10,, JAMA contirbutor Mike Mitka declares that the Medicare data is more likely to confuse rather than inform patients.

QUOTE from his article

However, the reasons Mitka offers for this potential confusion are, in my view, are invalid. Tk, tk.

His first reason is half a canard. The Medicare data released is strateified by DRGs, which means prices are compared according to standardized levels of sickness. ONe could argue that the DRGs are not granular enough to capture all differences in the severity of patients' illnesses, but it's disingenuous to suggest that such granularity accounts for the wild variations in prices on the same procedures from one hospital to the next.

Not only that, but Mitka still leaves his readers with the implicit assumption that hospital prices bear a relatioship to their costs. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, this has long since stopped being true.

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