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  1. Folks, the issue is probably NOT the itemization, which unfortunately is required by the insurance. This is also why healthcare costs so much because insurance requires a lot more paperwork and tracking.

    The issue is probably that if you go to the hospital, and got a 100K bill, you would want to see why. It’s interesting that people take their $100K Mercedes to the dealers and get a 1000 dollar bill for routine oil change (not even a tune up), they don’t ask for itemization of every screw and drop of oil. But when people take their 10 million dollar lives (ask a trial attorney) to the hospital for a tune up, the same bill in proportion to the tune up would be 100K (that’s just for maintainance – without repair like in the hospital), and folks balk up and down and demand why and want it itemized. It’s very dumb that Americans regard their lives as worth 10s of millions in court but don’t even want to pay what it’s worth in real life. However, they don’t likely balk up and down at the Mercedes/BMW dealer and demand every screw accounted for because their 10 year old car is costing them a grand in oil changes.

  2. I agree for both the cases…”Restaurant Bills Looked Like Hospital Bills” / ” Hospital Bills Looked Like Restaurant Bills”

  3. Itemization is necessary but it is often overlooked because unless a patient pays for most care out of pocket, these costs are hardly ever contested. Unfortunately, some care will require unforseen interventions that will increase the cost of the initial procedure. Comparing a restaurant receipt to a hospital bill is apples to orange comparison but I appreciate the transparency that it promotes.

  4. This is close, and insightful, but not quite opaque enough. To be like a medical bill, many of the listed items need to be turned into numerical codes with a key at the end that may (or may not) make sense. For example, what is the restaurant equivalent of listing charges for “surgical miscellaneous”?

    Add a dishwashing fee. I once saw an outpatient surgery bill that included $150 for a surgical tray, only to be told by the facility that I didn’t actually purchase a tray. The charge was to WASH the tray, either before or after the surgery (I didn’t ask about the timing detail).

    And the bill needs to be broken apart, so that the cook or chef would send a separate bill for their professional services, to arrive at a different time. And maybe the waiter or others involved will send their own bills too (you won’t know until they arrive sometime in the future … or not).

  5. What if you at least got to see a menu before you saw the bill?
    I hope one day to go to a physician or clinic and see the expenses posted by insurance plan. Better yet we’d all have the same single payer.

  6. Move each decimal point two places to the right and then it will look more like a hospital bill.

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