Stop what you’re doing and read this article from The New York Times. In a piece called “As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500” writer Elisabeth Rosenthal relays multiple stories of outrageous hospital charges. California Pacific Medical Center’s tidy emergency room treated Deepika Singh who had cut her knee at a barbecue and a toddler named Orla Roche who had sliced open her forehead on a coffee table. Here’s what their bills looked like: Ms. Singh’s three stitches were billed for $2,229.11; Orla’s forehead was sealed with a dab of skin glue that cost $1,696.
And great job, investigative journalists, researchers, everyone who’s fed up with the arbitrary nature of pricing. According to government statistics hospital charges represent about a third of the $2.7 trillion annual United States health care bill, the biggest single segment. These charges are the largest driver of medical inflation, too, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association found.