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The Guardian discovers market competition

One of the great joys of for-profit healthcare is that there are no fixed prices and the bill is always a surprise. A medical facility on one side of town might charge tens of thousands more for the same procedure as a facility on the other side of town.

Comes as a great surprise to them.

10 thoughts on “The Guardian discovers market competition”

  1. Why would the bill be a surprise?
    The cost of procedures is published on their websites and in other materials.
    Can’t they read?

  2. Can’t they read?

    Maybe so if they were educated in the UK state sector. Though that would be unlikely for a grauniad writer.

  3. @Chernyy Drakon:
    They’re Guardian writers; of course they can read! Indeed, critical theory allows them to read far more meaning than you can imagine. For example, they can read the subtext of your comment: expressing surprise at how the prices are hidden away and disgust at the discrimination against the illiterate.

  4. @Chernyy Drakon – “Why would the bill be a surprise?”

    Because for removal of an appendix (for example), you might know the price for a simple, straightforward procedure, but once you’re under anaesthetic, the surgeon has cut you open, and finds it’s more complicated, they can’t wake you up and let you decide to go elsewhere. The nature of lots of medicine is that you can’t be sure what is required until it is well under way. Even after the operation there can be complications and it can be impractical to transfer you elsewhere if you’re very ill and don’t like the ongoing cost.

  5. Yes, but “A medical facility on one side of town might charge tens of thousands (less)for the same procedure as a facility on the other side of town”.

  6. The bill is never a surprise.

    1. We know the bill is coming. So we talk about costs. And usually a significant portion of the bill has to be paid up front before treatment except in emergency situations.

    2. We know the price can differ between one place and another – hence we talk to different places. I mean . . . grocery prices differ, is the author incapable of managing the grocery bill because of that? Do they just shop at the closest place and say ‘fuck it’?

    3. We have this thing called ‘bankruptcy’ here. Everyone shrieks about lives being ruined because of medical debt – when the reason we have bankruptcy is to ensure that that doesn’t happen.

  7. There’s also legislation to protect consumers from hidden costs, there may be a variable element to the bill but that doesn’t mean it’s a surprise.
    Given the examples above for medical costs varying as they are things you should be warned about and consent to before surgery it would be a matter of adding a cost element to the various in the case that warnings/information

  8. If it’s a boob job or a Snip Snip And Bob’s Your Auntie those extra thousands might be money very well spent. After all you can get a facelift for free by wandering into the right kind of pub and making disparaging remarks about the wrong football team.

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