Bureaucrats, not doctors, are making healthcare so expensive | Washington Examiner

This bureaucracy also distorts necessary healthcare price signals at best, and engages in outright price fixing at worst. Clear and unfettered price signals would help keep prices down because they convey vital information for patients and providers. In a free market, a high price for avocados sends the message that first, avocados should be economized and put to their highest value uses, and second, that farmers should grow more avocados to profit, fill consumer demand, and bring down prices.

This dynamic is largely absent from healthcare, where prices are hidden through CPT codes, Relative Value Units, and the secret dealings of the AMA’s Relative Value Update Committee. This price opacity prevents doctors, insurers, and hospitals from effectively allocating their resources where they’re needed most, creating inefficiencies and higher costs.

Even if healthcare providers can somehow interpret hidden price signals to make supply decisions, they are often held up again by additional bureaucratic regulations. For instance, most state governments require burdensome Certificate of Need permits before new healthcare supply can be offered. Major insurers require doctors to jump through numerous hoops before covering new and innovative treatments. And the AMA holds treatments hostage to its pricing codes, on which all doctors must rely to get paid.

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Bureaucrats, not doctors, are making healthcare so expensive.