An Appendix Equals the Cost of a House (Or a Refrigerator)

Appendix removal surgery is a common procedure. As such, it doesn’t appear to be unreasonable to assume that the cost of the surgery would be similar from place to place.
Well, you know what is said about assumptions.
In California, a recent study (published by the Archives of Internal Medicine) uncovered huge cost disparities in the surgery. They ranged from a cost of $1,500 to $180,000. The average was $33,000. Experts suggest that this is not specific to California and reflects a damaged health care system.
The study examined 2009 data on 19,368 appendicitis patients. Patients were between 18 and 59 years old. The cases were uncomplicated with hospital stays lasting four days or less.
The numbers did not reflect the payments the hospitals actually received. They only took into account what the patients were billed prior to health insurance payments.
The underlying issue is that there is no discernible method to expense application. No system List Of Dietary Supplements Fda Approved exists to determine a rational price for this (or most others, for that matter) procedure.
Explanation of Differences
Some of the disparities are explainable by differences between patients and where the treatment occurred. Some had multiple imaging scans, for example. Some stayed longer in the hospital. However, explanations could not be found for about one-third of the expense differences.
Other countries use government regulation to prevent these wild swings. However, many in the US favor more of a market competition. St Vincent’S Hospital Harrison The study clearly suggests, though, that supply and demand rules do not work especially well when it comes to health care.
The $182,955 bill (the highest) involved a woman who had cancer and was treated at a Silicon Valley hospital. No treatment was given for cancer. The $1,529 bill (the lowest) went to a patient in rural Northern California. The cases were very similar-one day of hospitalization, minimally invasive surgery and similar tests and procedures.
These were not flukes. Many cases charged more than $100,000 as well as under $2,000. Even in the same geographical regions, charges differed by tens of thousands of dollars.
Analysis and Commentary
Other studies on hospital costs have published similar findings. Some noted wide variances of health care costs between the US and other countries.
The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality and the International Federation of Health Plans indicate the average price for an appendectomy is almost $28,000.
The disparities were called credible and “very concerning” by Dr. David Goodman, Director of Dartmouth’s College Center for Health Policy Research.
Another issue is that hospitals do not advertise charges. Nor do patients receive a choice of surgical methods or drugs to take.