"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Nick Simonette.
If you've spent time in a hospital, you probably remember your shock when you took a look at all the charges.
Medical bills are notoriously confusing.
It's difficult to even know if you've been charged fairly for the treatment you received.
But now, two lawmakers in North Carolina are trying to make sure patients know upfront what they'll be paying BEFORE they go in for treatment.
Senator Bob Rucho of Matthews and Harry Brown of Jacksonville filed the legislation late last month.
Their bill would require hospitals to provide the sticker price, if you will, of their 50 most common "episodes of care."
Procedures like tonsillectomies.
The bill would let consumers see what the top 5 insurers paid for the procedures, as well as Medicare and Medicaid.
Those costs can vary greatly depending on what insurers have negotiated.
You would also be able to see what people without insurance are charged.
The sponsors say the goal of the bill is to improve transparency in health care costs.
That could help people make more informed choices, even give us some power to negotiate.
We shop around for other services.
Why shouldn't health care be the same?
And who knows, a little competition among health care providers could actually bring costs down.
We think this bill is a step in the right direction.
Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.