Why Is Healthcare Price Transparency So Hard?

Andrew Sullivan —  May 30 2012 @ 2:48pm

Avik Roy mourns the death of an Arizona healthcare bill, which would have required healthcare providers to announce prices:

“Do we want free market health care?” [Arizona state senator Nancy Barto (R.)] asked in a recent blog post. “Then why have common sense reforms that will produce one been opposed, defeated and/or vetoed at the legislature for the last 2 years—even though we have a Republican Governor and Republican supermajority?”

It’s a good question. “The short answer,” she writes, “is swarms of lobbyists. The longer answer is legislators succumbing to lobbyists on issues that should be rather plain.”

Price transparency seems like the kind of thing that everyone should be able to rally around. But you’d be wrong. Pretty much everyone in the health-care world—other than the patient—has an interest in keeping prices opaque.