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Health care costs transparency shouldn’t be mandated | USA Today

In contrast, Surgery Center of Oklahoma offers hundreds of procedures and lists the price of each on its website. Patients across the country can compare SCO’s clear prices with guesstimates from elsewhere. That saves patients money and puts pressure on prices, even in other states.

Why not require every facility to be as transparent as SCO?

First, it’s beneficial to let the SCOs of the world use transparency to beat the competition. There are reasons why the car market has dealers whose obscure prices are subject to haggling and others, like CarMax, where the price you see is the price you get. Some customers are better off haggling or meticulously researching costs, while others benefit more from certainty.

Second, as antitrust law recognizes, public pricing can sometimes lead to collusion — another way for providers to resist downward pressure.

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Health care costs transparency shouldn’t be mandated.

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