From Pine View Farm

The Galt and the Lamers, Competition Dept. 2

Price competition in health care: The fee hand of the market at work.

Jackson spokesmen say the financially strapped system can’t reveal how much it pays (for big-ticket medical equipment-ed.) because it has signed contracts with vendors that include clauses that call the prices “trade secrets.”

Such “trade secret” clauses are standard in the medical world and exempt from public records laws, they say. But the secrecy means that Jackson can’t compare its prices to what many other hospitals pay. That’s like a consumer going to buy a flat-screen TV and not knowing what others are paying for the same brand, said Curtis Rooney, president of the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association. “We call them gag clauses. … People can’t find out the best price.”

Free market.


It is to laugh.



  1. cassandra m

    July 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Now here is my perennial question re: “shopping” for health care.  If I am in need of a pacemaker — do I actually have time to shop around for the best deal on either the device or the procedure to install it?  I’ve never been able to wrap my head around how I’m supposed to be able to control my costs in an emergency (or close to it) situation.

  2. Frank

    July 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    That is the underlying lie in all this.

    You will do what anyone else would do.  Trust your doctor and take the one he installs (is “installs” quite the right word?–yes, I think it is).