Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

1 hour ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Hospital Prices, Revealed! (Sort Of)

May 8, 2013
Originally published on May 9, 2013 3:44 pm

Economists think prices are close to magic — constantly changing signals that help people figure out what to buy and who to buy it from (and what to sell and who to sell it to).

But in health care, it seems like nobody knows the price of anything. This recent study, for example, found most hospitals can't provide an up-front price estimate for a hip replacement.

So today's government data dump for pricing information from thousands of hospitals is a pretty big deal. (Here's coverage from NPR's Shots blog; here's a nice NYT interactive that lets you compare selected prices at hospitals around the country.)

The data show massive price variation among hospitals — even, in some cases, among hospitals in the same city. There's also a huge gap between each hospital's list price and the price the government actually pays for patients who are covered by Medicare.

It's no secret that hospitals' list prices are ridiculously high and seemingly arbitrary. And today's data dump will be helpful for people who don't have insurance and are trying to figure out the price of a procedure, and to compare prices at different hospitals.

But, as Steven Brill points out, the new data are basically useless for anyone who has private insurance and is trying to shop around. That's because private insurance companies negotiate their own rates with hospitals, and the rates bear little resemblance to the list price.

Brill, the author of a recent ginormous article on hospital pricing, writes today:

Suppose you have a knee replaced at Hospital X. Aetna's discount there might mean it pays $11,000, while United Healthcare's discount might mean it pays $22,000. Or the prices could be reversed. No patient has any way of knowing. But if you're on the hook for 20% co-insurance for each policy, then you'll pay $2,200 with an Aetna policy or $4,400 with a United policy.

Private insurers are regulated at the state level, and Brill argues that states should release hospital price data for private insurance companies. Individual patients already see the price their insurance company paid — it's listed on a form called the Explanation of Benefits. So even if insurance companies don't want to participate, Brill writes, states could crowdsource price information from patients:

...state pricing centers could gather the information from patients who volunteer, in exchange for a promise that their names won't be used, to submit their Explanations of Benefits. After all, a hospital or insurance company can't claim a patient can be prohibited from talking about or making public his or her own bill.

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