Medicare bypasses value

            In a continuing search for bundled prices in health care, I stumbled into another one of those inexplicable pieces of public policy: Medicare doesn’t reimburse surgery centers for orthopedic procedures like knee replacements.

            It reimburses hospitals at much higher rates, but not more efficient surgi-centers.

            In the private sector, we do just the opposite. We go looking for Centers of Value that offer great quality, like zero infection rates; excellent service, and low prices.

            We have learned that low prices sand high quality go hand in hand.

            Or, the put that discovery the other way around: high prices DO NOT mean high quality.

            So, why wouldn’t the federal government be open-minded and pragmatic about using the best providers? If a surgery center does a better job at a better price, why not reimburse them?

Beats me.

Further, why not take advantage of the bundled prices for a whole procedure that some of these centers now offer? We won’t really get a marketplace working in health care until we have all-in prices.

And, don’t say medicine is too complicated for bundled prices. Some providers are already there.

It’s important to taming the beast of hyper-inflation in health care. Knee replacements in the Milwaukee market range from about $23,000 all-in to $41,000. Why pay more than $23,000?

Medicare apparently doesn’t care.

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