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Tackling the mystery of how much healthcare costs

New York Times, August 19, 2009

For the most part, doctor fees are a mystery: If people see a doctor who is part of their insurance network, they are responsible only for deductibles and co-payments, and the price the health insurer pays is often a secret. But healthcare legislation under discussion does not directly address the out-of-network fee issue. And that is intentional, says Mark McClellan, MD, of the Brookings Institution. McClellan, a former head of Medicare, told the New York Times the goal of the House and Senate bills is to encourage people to stay in their networks. He added that the result should be networks that provide better care "so that people don’t have so much need to go outside of them."