What health care actually costs

Our employer based health insurance system distorts the real cost of health care.  Some (rightfully so) attribute our current consumption activities to this distortion.

A classmate was relaying a conversation last week that she had had with a group of law students.  She asked, “How much do you think open heart surgery costs?”  One response, “a couple of thousand bucks.”

The WSJ Health Blog wrote a couple of weeks ago about San Francisco restaurants reacting to a local mandate to provide health insurance to employees.

Since the beginning of the year, San Francisco businesses have been required to offer health insurance to employees or pay a fee to the city to fund health care.

Some restaurants are passing the fee on to consumers in the form of a health surcharge, which shows up on the bill as a flat fee ($1 per person, or so) or as a percentage (like sales tax).

Interesting thought.  A surcharge at the bottom of a Wal-Mart receipt?  Or a hotel bill?

Can you imagine GM placing a line item at the bottom of the sticker on a new car detailing a $1,500 surcharge for health insurance (back when they offered it to retirees).  Not that it would change the bottom line price.  But do you think that would make someone think twice about purchasing the vehicle?

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