Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Should We Bail Out Hospitals' Bad Debt?

A previous blog entry tried to shed some light on the phenomenon of hospital charges that are out of control, such as $500 for a single stitch.

Well, the hospitals have their challenges, too. They increasingly have to worry about collecting money directly from patients, instead of insurers, according to recent articles.

In fact, hospitals’ struggle to get payments from patients, which are legally due, puts them in the same boat as millions of others in our society, from free-lance writers to general contractors, to anyone who sells anything on credit. They will have to develop the same skills in customer service as have providers in other sectors.

More importantly, the hospitals’ pain is necessary to bring about price transparency, which is very important in a consumer-driven health system. If hospitals are unable to tell patients what they owe before a scheduled service, they are going to continue to struggle to get paid.

Politicians must not interfere with this painful change, or price transparency will never come to health care.

Read the entire article at John Goodman's Health Policy Blog or the Independent Institute's Beacon blog.

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