KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health System ‘Sticker Shock’ And Other Critiques

NPR reports on how one cancer specialist diagnoses the health system's ills, while The Associated Press reports on how the costs for a common operation to remove the appendix ranged from $1,500 to $180,000 in one state.

NPR: Cancer Doc Brawley Says The U.S. Health Care System Is Sick
Journalists make for a pretty tough crowd. But Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, fired up hundreds of them at the annual meeting of Association of Health Care Journalists over the weekend with a no-holds-barred critique of the U.S. health system (Hensley, 4/23).

The Associated Press: Appendix Removal: Huge Sticker Shock In Study
What do hospitals charge to remove an appendix? The startling answer is that it could be the same as the price of a refrigerator — or a house. It's a common, straightforward operation, so you might expect charges to be similar no matter where the surgery takes place. Yet a California study found huge disparities in patients' bills — $1,500 to $180,000, with an average of $33,000. The researchers and other experts say the results aren't unique to California and illustrate a broken system (Tanner, 4/23).

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