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Letters: Why healthcare costs so much

February 03, 2013

Re "Small surgery, huge markup," Business, Jan. 31

The article hits the nail on the head when it comes to high costs in California's healthcare system. Consumers ultimately pay the price through extravagant out-of-pocket costs and soaring premiums.

As we found in our recent study, "Your Price May Vary," California's priciest hospitals charge 2.7 times more than other regions for the exact same procedures. In the end, this has real impacts on consumers. For example, Anthem Blue Cross plans to raise rates by 26% for 340,000 Californians in February. This isn't sustainable.

It's time insurers and providers got serious about cutting waste and overhead expenditures to rein in runaway healthcare costs. Price transparency and protections against this type of overcharging are good places to start.

Wesley Samms


The writer is a healthcare advocate with the California Public Interest Research Group.

Are we supposed to be satisfied that Advanced Surgical Partners is getting "only" $15,000 for a procedure that usually costs $3,000 because it originally charged $87,500? It should get only $3,000.

These thieves will have to go to prison for stealing before we will see this fleecing stop.

Bob Shafron


Please stop publishing articles like this because the next thing you know, we'll wind up with real universal healthcare coverage like the rest of the developed world, or some other system that makes sense.

Try to remember what conservatives keep telling us: We have the best healthcare system in the world. That's why tens of thousands of foreign doctors and other healthcare professionals, not to mention millions of patients, flock to our country to work and seek care every year. Or they would, if they only knew we have the best healthcare system in the world.

Lou Cohan



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