This story presents a familiar dilemma: Are voluntary efforts from industry sufficient, or do we need laws with teeth? But there’s more. This is healthcare we’re talking about, not a credit contract, a point Levin Becker touched on this as she set the context for her piece. Why are such fees necessary in the first place? Hospitals say facility fees reflect overhead costs of the doctors’ practices and high standards such practices must meet. Veltri says they inflate the cost of care. She hinted there may be bigger fish to catch in the regulatory net, and she would prefer to see more transparency in how hospitals set their fees. So would Time’s Steven Brill, The New York Times’ Elisabeth Rosenthal, and other commentators who have examined why healthcare costs so much. Facility fees, then, may be a reportorial entry-point into a much bigger problem. We hope Levin Becker stays on the case.

If you'd like to get email from CJR writers and editors, add your email address to our newsletter roll and we'll be in touch.


More in The Second Opinion

Obamacare? I wasn't aware...

Read More »

Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.