Kaiser reports on the trend in healthcare price databases. According to the All Payer Claims Database Council's map, there are now nine states with such databases and several others that are on the verge of implementing their own.
As the Kaiser article discusses, these databases are expected to help reduce some of the wild variations between the cost of different procedures:
The price of a knee MRI in Colorado varies from $350 to $2,336...
The eight-fold range in MRI prices stands out, as does a four-fold difference in spending per health plan member between nearby counties. It ranges from a low of $1,000 per year in Hinsdale County to a high of just over $4,000 in Pitkin County.The databases themselves seem to vary in their degree of user friendliness, and publicizing their existence may be difficult. Nevertheless, this innovation has the potential to significantly improve the functioning of our healthcare markets. Ultimately, it may even be of more use than the ACA's much-touted health benefit exchanges.