Quiz of the Day: What Is This Map?

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This map was released today as part of a 14-page research report. What is it?

Here are your choices:

  1. Donald Trump’s claim of how many states Republicans will win if they nominate him for president.
  2. The creeping spread of socialism in Barack Obama’s America.
  3. Other than white, the predominant color in each state’s flag.
  4. Which states make it easy to look up health care prices.

Yeah, the answer is #4. Red means your state got a letter grade of F. In other words, 45 out of 50 states do exactly nothing to make health care pricing transparent for their residents. Here’s how this plays out in real life:

If any single fact illuminates why reining in health care spending is going to be easier said than done, it might be this: we don’t even really know why a typical, low-risk childbirth costs $1,200 at some hospitals and $12,000 at others.

….In Massachusetts, a state that passed a law in 2012 to make health care costs more transparent [but still gets a grade of F anyway. –ed.], a research team trying to track down the price of a simple left knee MRI without a contrast dye found themselves transferred to six or seven departments and playing phone tag for days. Among 22 hospitals in a survey by Barbara Anthony, a senior fellow at the Pioneer Institute, a free market public policy think tank, it took anywhere from 10 minutes to nearly a week and a half to get an answer. If it’s that difficult to figure out how much it will cost to get a short scan to look at your knee, good luck trying to pin down the cost of the miracle of life.

Is there any other significant area of life where it’s virtually impossible to find out how much something will cost before you decide to buy it? I sure can’t think of one.

The full report is here, but it warns that “you will find little progress since last year and, in some cases, regression.” Sounds like a fun read.

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FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

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