Daily Archives: May 10, 2013

Hospital pricing part of what ails health care system

It’s hard to know what to make out of the wildly varying rates hospitals charge for the same procedures – other than that it shows how dysfunctional our health care system is. As the Eagle reported today, costs related to joint replacement ranged from $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif. Prices at Wichita hospitals and surgery centers also vary greatly, even between Via Christi Via Hospital on St. Teresa and Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis. Hospital officials warn that many factors are involved in pricing, including the health of the patient and whether the patient was admitted through the emergency room. Also, some hospitals charge higher because they have to cover the cost of training future doctors or providing charity care. They also note that few people pay the “list price” for procedures. Still, this complicated pricing system is part of the problem.

Moran right about Internet sales tax.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was one of only 27 senators to vote Monday against the Internet sales tax bill. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan, missed the vote because of speaking commitment but supports the measure. As Moran noted earlier, the bill is about leveling the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar vendors. States also lost $23 billion in sales tax collections last year on out-of-state Internet, catalog and mail order sales, according to a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bill faces tougher odds in the House, where many lawmakers are afraid to vote for anything that might be considered a tax increase. But as Moran has said, “The legislation will not impose a new tax on the Internet or anyone. It will, however, protect small businesses and empower states with the ability to control fiscal policy as they see fit.” The Kansas House delegation should back

Release terms of tobacco settlement

What’s the delay in releasing the terms of a settlement the state reached this year with tobacco companies? The settlement was finalized in March, and several other states have released their settlement terms. But Kansas Action for Children had to file an open-records request to try to get the information. And all it’s received so far is a letter from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office saying it needs more time. This information is of particularly interest as lawmakers finalize the state’s budget. And keep in mind, the Attorney General’s Office is in charge of enforcing the state’s open-records law. Maybe it needs to police itself.