My life often has me straddling multiple worlds – doctor, photographer, internet guy, speaker, etc. – and one of the privileges is meeting so many interesting people that have done some very cool things but are also interested in what we’re doing with Hello Health.  Ian IM’d me a few weeks back and we finally met up in between his school and working on the site he started, Chuck Norris Facts.  He’s a lovely guy and ready to start a new career in medical school.  Just as I warn everyone entering this field, I warned him.  But then thought “Hey it’s not that bad anymore.  He’ll have Hello Health when he completes his training.”


Change Healthcare is doing amazing things to expose actual healthcare prices to consumers.  For all of you non-healthcare people, this data is highly prized and kept secret by absolutely every player in the industry.  Everyone benefits by keeping these prices private – except consumers and especially people who have to pay cash for their own healthcare.  

Check out the press release here but here’s the money quote:

Upstart healthcare technology company change:healthcare today re-launched its cost ratings tool – called a Medstimate rating – which profiles the amount that healthcare providers nationwide accept as negotiated prices for their services, yanking the covers off the medical world and exposing fair pricing for consumer-driven healthcare (CDHC) in the process.   By rolling out pricing models for services from over 1.5 million providers – and price ranges for what more than 10,000 medical services should cost – the company’s re-tooled Medstimate system left the healthcare industry with no more secrets than those afforded by a hospital gown.   The pricing data is being released in phases, with hospital inpatient and outpatient service negotiated price ranges being the first – and, to-date, most comprehensive – data provided.  Average regional negotiated price data on all physicians, dentists, chiropractors, medical clinics and nursing homes nationwide have been compiled and will be available on the site.  Over time, more detailed price ranges for these services will be integrated into the site market-by-market.   The data has been culled from a variety of up-to-date resources, including the government, insurers, providers, consumers and other sources. 

Why Big Health Insurance Supports the Democrats

Some very interesting insight here…

“DrRich’s theory, first formulated six months ago, provides the answer. In the evolution of their managed care products, health insurers finally have reached the point where they need to demonstrate their ability to grow their profits by actually managing the medical care of sick people. The notion that they can do so is, of course, absurd. Furthermore, the notion that the Republicans would be relying on the insurers not only to make a profit, but also to reduce the cost of American healthcare at the same time, literally scares the bejeebers out of insurance executives. The very last thing Wellpoint and UnitedHealth Group want is for McCain to win the presidency, then turn to them and say, “OK boys, do your cost-reducing stuff!” A Republican victory would suddenly reveal the insurers to be entirely bankrupt of useful ideas, and would expose them to a sudden, ugly, stock-tanking demise." 

"Democrats will also put the industry in an untenable position, of course, and will at least arguably aim to drive them out of business (though without actually telling us so). But Democrats actually have no expectations for the insurance industry, other than that they fail in due time. This, DrRich submits, is the insurance industy’s plan, too.

But before they drive them into oblivion, the Democrats promise to create for them one last, massive windfall – namely, the government-paid insurance premiums for many of the 47 million uninsured Americans. (Joseph Paduda at Managed Care Matters thoughtfully estimates for us that windfall as $150 billion per annum – not exactly chicken feed.)

So, for at least a while, under Hillary’s plan the insurance industry profits will rise, stock prices will rise, and executive bonuses will rise. This is as good as it’s going to get.

In 1994 the insurance industry (then early supporters as well) took a look at Hillary’s massive plan for healthcare reform, and said, “My God! We’ll be out of business in 5 years!” And they became intractable enemies of her reform plan.

Today, they look at their situation and say, “My God! We’ll be out of business in 5 years!” And they see in Hillary a means to engineer those 5 years into one hell of an exit strategy." 

Why Big Health Insurance Supports the Democrats

This is the NYC Passport Agency.  I spent some time there today to get a renewal.  I couldn’t help but think that this is what universal healthcare would look like.  Somewhere in America, someone would gun down a doctor causing a wave of bullet proof glass to arise in all doctor’s offices.  Doctor’s could no longer touch you except through bullet proof sleeves they’d stick through two holes in the glass.  Babies would have to be removed from strollers so everything could go through metal detectors.  The whole system would look and function like the absurd TSA.  We’d even have to take our shoes off to enter the buildings.  The only efficiencies that would arise is that the X-ray machine could function on babies and purses at once.

 I’m kidding…