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The Editors

Wildly Varying Hospital Prices Keep Health Care Expensive

If further proof were needed that price competition doesn’t exist in the expensive U.S. health-care market, it arrived this month. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published 2011 charges for medical treatments set by more than 3,000 American hospitals.

In suburban Denver, a patient treated for a respiratory infection with complications could be billed $28,000, $46,000 or $97,000, depending on the hospital. In the Los Angeles area, knee and hip replacements cost seven times as much at one hospital as another.