Follow-up On “Bitter Pill”

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After TIME’s Mar. 4 special issue “Bitter Pill”, the US government published a list of actual medical cost of the most common treatments, compiled from the data submitted from the hospitals for medicaid/medicare reimbursement. Since hospitals in the US are mostly either nonprofit/government-owned, in theory the cost should be equal to the bill. However, the data shows great disparity between the price tag that hospitals bill patients, partly because insurance companies typically negotiate deep discount with hospitals.

The great news is that the report has triggered public awareness, and the medical cost should become more transparent (hopefully).

See also: An End to Medical-Billing Secrecy? and the Wikipedia article

這則新聞應該對很多醫學界朋友來說很有意思。美國醫療費用一直是很大的問題,尤其是醫療費用不透明。時代雜誌3月出版一則針對醫療費用真實成本的報導之後,最近美國政府發布Medicare/Medicaid給付醫院100項最常見的醫療成本 (美國medicare/medicaid是政府社會福利,medicare是給老人,medicaid是給低收入戶者如我)。Medicare/Medicaid根據醫院提供各種醫療成本資料,核算真正給付給醫院的補助。由於美國絕大部份醫院屬於不營利或政府所屬機構,理論上成本要等於收取費用,因為他們不該因此獲利。但公佈的結果顯示真正醫療成本與病患收到的帳單金額差距極大,部份原因是保險公司通常會跟醫院談好價格,所以真正醫院收到的錢遠比帳單上的低。

TIME今年會再針對這個議題做更多追蹤報導。

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