In the US third-party-payer health insurance system the price for care is typically set by entities outside the doctor-patient relationship. As a result, providers rarely compete for patients based on money prices. Potentially they can compete on the time price of care, on amenities, and on quality. Yet providers rarely compete on quality, says John C. Goodman, president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.
In those health care markets where third-party payment is nonexistent or relatively unimportant, providers almost always compete for patients based on price. And where there is price competition, transparency is almost never a problem. Not only are prices posted (as in walk-in clinics, surgi-centers, etc.), they are often package prices, covering all aspects of care (as with cosmetic surgery, Lasik surgery, etc.), and therefore easy for patients to understand.
Wherever there is price competition, there also tends to be quality competition.
Publish date: 22 July 2011
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.