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Finally, let's browse through a massive Excel database submitted by another large California hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Again, anything that is done inside the hospital building will be charged. If you need blood, the Y-type tubing used to hang blood will cost the patient $110.82. The anesthesia charges for the first hour of surgery including an arterial line results in a $5,814.36. That is separate from the doctor's fee and the cost of the arterial line itself which is $668.19. Breast implants at this Beverly Hills hospital will cost anywhere from $123 to $6,280.07. Just so the guys don't get left out, inflatable penile implants range in prices from $1,175 up to 26,518.81. Hmm. Wonder why the men get "shafted" for more dough? Oh, and don't accidentally choke on your food while you're in Cedars. Hard to believe, but performing a Heimlich maneuver on you will cost $102.17. But if you're chocking to death, I'm sure you won't mind paying that charge instead of shopping around for the best prices.
If searching by every hospital is too laborious, there is even a database for comparing the price of a procedure between different hospitals. Here you can find some common procedures such as child delivery or joint replacement and how much it costs across different hospitals. For instance, a diagnosis of chest pain in Los Angeles County will cost a patient $37,799 at Olympia Medical Center but only $4,704 at Motion Picture and Television Hospital.
Sure it is easy for people to tell patients to shop around for the best prices before going to the hospital. As you can see the prices vary enormous from one location to another. But when you're sick, who has the time or the energy to search through all these huge databases and compare prices? The information is here, at least in California. But this won't lower the cost of healthcare. I think perversely people may decide that they want to go to the most expensive facility for their treatment, since the priciest means the best, right? So back to the drawing board for the government in their attempt to lower healthcare costs.