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President Biden Tests Positive for Covid; Report: SD ethanol plants release hazardous air pollutants; Report: CA giant sequoia groves in peril after megafires.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

New Call for Price Transparency in Health Care

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Monday, March 16, 2015   

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - We've all heard those horror stories about the price of an aspirin on a hospital bill. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky says giving consumers clear information about prices is the first step toward improving their health. Susan Zepeda, the Foundation's president and CEO, says that must be done so...

"Consumers can compare apples to apples," she says. "What is a particular procedure going to cost if I have it at this hospital versus that outpatient surgery center? What are my co-pays going to be or my deductibles under my insurance plan?"

Zepeda says if consumers can access credible information about both price and quality they can then determine the value of their health care.

But in Kentucky, unlike some states, there's no legislative mandate for transparency in health care. Doctor John Langefeld, chief medical officer of the state's Department of Medicaid Services, says support for the idea is growing - including from many on the commercial side of health care.

"It makes no sense not to share information data about a population of people because everyone wins in that," says Langefeld. "It's not something that creates, necessarily, a competitive advantage by holding that and saying 'This is our data and no one else can have access to it.'"

Zepeda says consumers and employers are "looking for a square deal" and that starts with knowing what insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, actually pay on claims.

"Sunshine on pricing will make sure that we're all playing by the same rules," says Zepeda.

She says Kentucky has the technology and resources to gather the data now it needs, in her words, "the political will."


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