This is somewhat new. Past studies have repeatedly shown US Healthcare to cost much more and yet deliver lower overall quality than in other developed countries. But now this Pennsylvania government survey as reported in the New York Times shows the same disparities among US hospitals themselves.
The hospitals with the highest costs for procedures like heart bypasses had worse outcomes and mortality rates than those that charged less than half as much. The high priced hospitals argued that their results were skewed by some very expensive procedures but even this doesn't explain most of the discrepancy.
The study hopefully also looked at median costs instead of mean costs. The former, which is what the patient at the 50th percentile or in the middle of the group would pay, removes the distortions of a few extreme payments and addresses the objections of the higher-cost hospitals. Most studies now also make so-called "risk adjustments" so that hospitals handling more complicated or difficult cases are fairly evaluated and compared.
As mentioned in an earlier post hospitals tend to be rewarded rather than penalized for their mistakes resulting in additional or extended treatment. I'm hoping these reports make Americans more savvy healthcare consumers who don't keep buying the "you get what you pay for" line. The same goes for insurers or employers who may be bearing most of the costs for their members or employees. In addition to improving domestic pricing and practices it will be a further impetus to medical tourism.