Evan Soltas
Apr 3, 2013

A Better Health-Care Market

How can public policy support a better, more efficient, less costly health care market?

To paraphrase Genesis: "And the government said, let there be prices; and there were prices. And consumers saw the prices, and the equilibrium was efficient; and the market divided the good deals from the bad ones."

Here's an excerpt from my actual article in Bloomberg:

How could government help the health-care market work better? Here’s an idea so obvious it’s shocking it hasn’t already been done: Let’s require large hospitals and medical providers who receive dollars from Medicare, Medicaid or federal research grants to collect and publish basic price data.

For every conceivable medical problem, there’s something the insurance industry calls a “medical billing code” listed in the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD. Behind every conceivable medical service in a hospital, there’s an associated fee in another volume, the “chargemaster.” And providers have years of accounting figures filed away.

This mass of data creates an enormous opportunity for the federal government to make the health-care market more efficient and probably to cut costs as well.