Letter: On hospital charges, a more troubling question
Re “Medicare data: Irregular prices, payments” (Monitor front page, May 17):
Why are we so surprised that different hospitals charge different rates for the same procedures? This is the capitalistic economic system that we (supposedly) admire in the United States. We would not expect different car dealerships to charge the same for the same car; in fact we relish the idea of shopping around and bargaining for the best deal. It can even be construed as anti-competitive if they were to coordinate their prices.
The more troubling question, which we should be asking, is why those without insurance or government programs such as Medicare, are being asked to pay “full price?” I do not see many hospitals filing for bankruptcy, and the CEOs of even the non-profit institutions are earning six- and seven-figure salaries. Given that the majority of their patients are covered by one of the above third-party payers, which are paying the hospitals at a much lower rate than the published fees, and the hospitals seem to be doing just fine, why he higher charges for those less fortunate to not have the protection of a third party?