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How Common Procedures Became 20 Percent Cheaper for Many Californians

Method Man: Surgeon, Soldier, ShooterAt a time when health care spending seems only to go up, an initiative in California has slashed the prices of many common procedures.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers) started paying hospitals differently for 450,000 of its members beginning in 2011. It set a maximum contribution it would make toward what a hospital was paid for knee and hip replacement surgery, colonoscopies, cataract removal surgery and several other elective procedures. Under the new approach, called reference pricing, patients who wished to get a procedure at a higher-priced hospital paid the difference themselves.

By Austin Frakt | The New York Times

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