It's about our kids' future

When medical bills drive families into bankruptcy it's someone's very real suffering.

It's about our families

When medical bills drive families into bankruptcy it's someone's very real suffering.

Lack of transparency leads to mistakes.

Keith Smith, M.D. writes: "What you see above is a bill sent to me by a friend. This bill makes no sense unless you realize that a free market is not involved. Either Adventist Health System doesn’t think whoever is paying this bill cares, or is holding them at gunpoint. The Medical/Surgical Supplies charge ($63,371.71) represents mostly the defibrillator battery, for which Adventist paid $12K-$15K according to my sources. They will, of course claim that every dime of this they don’t collect will be “uncompensated care,” and use this “loss” to maintain the fiction of their not for profit status, while pocketing their DSH (disproportionate share hospital) kick back courtesy of the blindsided taxpayer. They will “carry” cash reserves to match this “bad debt” and use this slush fund to buy and build, buy and build….everything and everyone in sight. The insurance company (if there is one) will “reprice” this bill and charge the employer group a “percentage of savings.” The insurance company would be better off had this bill been $200,000 or more as their “repricing” take (usually around 30% of “savings”) would be even greater. To bring this sick system under control, we must first address the cost. Imagine now that an innovative hospital published upfront pricing for defibrillator battery changes for $25,000. How would this affect the price and availability of healthcare for everyone? Doesn’t the lack of waste benefit all of us? To focus on getting everyone “coverage” only guarantees bills like the one above and rationing of care to all but the uber-rich.." [Read here]

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Health Care in America...

America offers some of the best Health Care on the planet. Yet, for many Americans health care and insurance policies remain unaffordable.

Today even a small medical procedure can place a heavy burden on a middle class family. Earlier this year Steven Brill's investigative Time Magazine article "Bitter Pill: Why medical bills are killing us"[1] highlighted in detail the increasing costs in the health care sector and pointed to a fundamental problem: a lack of price transparency that stifles innovation, inflates medical bills unnecessarily and lets insurance rates sky-rocket leaving many families with high deductibles, painful premiums or simply uninsured.

A few years ago my daughter strained her wrist. I received a bill from my local hospital that did not make any sense: a short consultation and a simple sling was priced at several thousand dollars. It had to be a mistake. A little while later I received an itemized bill. Very quickly it became clear that the billing for these procedures did not follow any market principle. The sling, a piece of cloth, tagged as "made in Guatemala", was listed for $400 dollars - the equivalent of an iPad.

I became very curious about how these prices were established and it became apparent that others were equally interested in this topic. The more I found out about how these prices came to be (see link section) the more I became convinced that there had to be a better way. There first fundamental problem seemed to be, indeed, a lack of price transparency - there was no market place because there was simply no price listing and thus no comparison of choice for patients and other doctors.

A few decades ago, when someone needed a doctor, they would directly interact with a doctor and the focus would be on healing. From one person to another. From someone who knew the cost of a treatment to someone who had to work hard for his money. No filing complexity, administrative overhead, drawn-out paper trails. Just you and me and a price. A price that would be a win-win for both of us. We have seen how this simple principle has pushed technology forward and led to advances in electronics that are mind-boggling. What would happen to health care in the US, if we let price transparency have a come-back? That's exactly why we created! But there is more to it than cost alone. Where quality and competitive pricing intersect we discover real value. When experience and scrutiny of the many meet the physician or institutions that innovate, we might see a dramatically improved future in health care, i.e. in quality, in price and thus in value.

We live in a new era. In a time when information rules. We can certainly find ways to improve, but we need to see clearly. And that means seeing the two basic agents of health care - the patient and the doctor - meet directly via complete price transparency. Pricing for medical procedures and treatments has to be public if we desire fundamental progress in the overall health care system. Why not make it profitable for both - patients and physicians [2]? In fact, price transparency in health care is not a thought experiment anymore, it is a growing movement: Considering the incredible success story of Dr. Keith Smith of the surgery center of Oklahoma[3]. Streamlining his operation, cutting waste and innovating his clinic by listing transparent pricing online he has been drawing patients from across the nation, including Canada and overseas.

Let us give all the money it really takes directly into the hands of caring and thoroughly publicly vetted physicians. Let's pay them directly whenever possible and have them get the best tools for the job. So that they can truly focus on what they love most: helping people. And yes: the better they are, and the more thoroughly they do their job, the more business they and their facilities should get! Those who improve their hospitals, clinics and practices by lowering cost and increasing patient satisfaction should be able to help more people and spread their knowledge!

The ultimate form of knowledge about the state of affairs in medical cost in America and our willingness and ability to drive it down through innovation and meticulous care that prevents illness proactively is price transparency. Let's find out what it really costs to get something done so that patients are happy. Let's have medical companies compete for each and every patient in an open market place.

We hope you join us on this journey: As a patient. As a provider of health care.

Lennart Lopin Co-Founder/CTO and the entire team

This is why:

  1. Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us
  2. “You're crazy! That’ll never work!”. Yet numbers don't lie: 80% less overhead, savings for patients & more earnings for doctors in a Direct Pay Practice
  3. Post Your Prices Online
  4. Consumer Driven Health Market - The ObamaCare Paradox
  5. Why can't, or don't, hospitals post prices online?
  6. Surgery prices online? More hospitals could make move
  7. Free market, posted prices can prevent healthcare sticker shock
  8. Surgical Center Reveals Prices to Patients
  9. How to Charge $546 for Six Liters of Saltwater
  10. Jeffrey Singer: The Man Who Was Treated for $17,000 Less
  11. Hip replacements show why health costs are so high
  12. Transitioning to a Direct-pay Medical Practice
  13. American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World
  14. The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill
  15. Revealing a Health Care Secret: The Price
  16. How much should we expect healthcare to mimic other industries
  17. In Need of a New Hip, but Priced Out of the U.S.
  18. How a secretive panel uses data that distort doctors’ pay
  19. ReasonTV: Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare
  20. Capitol Hill Briefing: Medical Markets increase access & quality
  21. Heart Surgery in India for $1,583 Costs $106,385 in U.S.
  22. $1,000 For a Dental Crown? Maybe You Should Shop Around
  23. Bringing Comparison Shopping to the Doctor’s Office
  24. Push for doctors to list prices falls short
  25. My Rebuttal to the Rebuttal
  26. Per capita health care expenses
  27. Why do Hospitals Charge $4,423 for $250 CT Scans?
  28. Dirty Medicine - How medical supply behemoths stick it to the little guy, making America’s health care system more dangerous and expensive.
  29. From $30,000 to $3000.
  30. Patients Pay Before Seeing Doctor as Deductibles Spread
  31. Interview - Reasons for going off the "insurance grid"
  32. Doctors are opting for cash only clinics