AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A legislative commission is looking for ways to make it easier for Mainers to figure out how much medical procedures are going to cost them, but members admit, the system doesn't make it easy.

The Commission to Study Transparency, Costs and Accountability of Health Care System Financing wants health care providers to provide a price list of their most common procedures, and make it clear to consumers that they can obtain information on average charges for a given procedure.

But none of that means that consumers suddenly will have a good sense of what a given procedure is going to cost them. That's because health care providers charge different prices to different insurance companies, and those insurance companies charge patients different amounts depending on their copays and deductibles. Plus, multiple health care providers can be involved in on particular surgery, for example, and so a patient might get a full cost picture.

Commission chair, Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick (D-Bangor) said, "We have the most complicated health system that exists on earth, in my opinion. This is a health system which has been put together without planning, helter-skelter, over the past 60 years or so."

The commission's recommendations will go to a legislative committee in January.

Read or Share this story: