How U.S. Hospitals Sell You Services Without Price Tags | NYT Opinion

In the Opinion video above, Martin Schoeller, a photographer who is best known for his portraits of famous and powerful people, aims his lens at a different population: ordinary Americans who have been crushed by exorbitant hospital bills they didn’t see coming.

A federal rule that went into effect last year requires hospitals to post prices for their services, with the aim of removing the element of surprise for patients and perhaps even spurring price competition among health care providers.

But a recent study by, a nonprofit group that works for price transparency, revealed that only about 14 percent of the 1,000 hospitals it surveyed were complying with the new rule.

In Mr. Schoeller’s short film, patients describe the painful financial consequences they faced after being blindsided by costly bills.

“We depend on hospitals in our communities to take care of us,” Mr. Schoeller said. “But our hospitals are putting profits before patients.”

The solution, he argues, is in stronger government enforcement of the transparency rule and stiffer penalties for those hospitals that don’t comply.

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