When shopping for a car you can see prices posted in newspaper ads, online, through numerous apps or by stopping at the dealership. Why can't we do that for medical procedures such as office visits, physicals, labs, knee replacements or colonoscopies?

Finally the government is trying to help us, the consumer, pick the most cost effective therapy. The proposed administrative rule requiring price transparency should make it possible to compare apples to apples when purchasing healthcare and this should help bring skyrocketing costs down.

For example, according to an independent consumer group, cash prices for a colonoscopy in the Brainerd lakes area vary from $3,200 at facility A, $6,500 at facility B to $8,000 at facility C. As a physician I cannot defend this price variation, but I challenge the average patient to find these prices.

It is time for the patient to take control of comparing what an office visit, a colonoscopy, or a knee replacement costs and then purchase the most cost-effective care available.

Bruce B. Cunningham

Physician, UR Country Doc