I understand the point you're making, but consider this analogy. A few years ago I moved all of my money to a Vangaurd fund. I didn't need to shop around to determine who had the lowest fees. Word of mouth and reading this blog would assure me that the best bang for my buck would be Vangaurd. So it would be with healthcare. Everyone would know that if you want super fancy care, then you pay extra and go to the Mayo Clinic. For those of us who want the best value, we would choose the "Vangaurd" of healthcare.
Fortunately I work in heart surgery. I will now present you with a list of questions that you will answer with all the vast knowledge you seem to have on this subject and you will enlighten us how to fix all these things.
1) What is the method by which the hospital bills for your procedure? Are you billed a bulk room charge or does your facility charge each item including all bags of fluid and syringes used?
2) Did you get the fast or slow surgeon today? Should it matter that a staff of 7 people is working your case for 8 hours instead of the 4 hours that it takes the faster Dr to do it?
3) Do you want the heart valve that the surgeon has been implanting into people for the past 20 years or some new item that your hospital is pushing on the physicians that might be harder to implant? If you choose the cost saving one, are you prepared to possible need a redo operation if you still have valve leakage? Should you be forced to choose a mechanical valve over a porcine valve? What are your preferences for life long anticoagulation if so?
4) Do you live in a state that requires 2 surgeons on hand or 2 of other allied health professionals such as myself? Are you prepared to move away from that state to save money if so?
5) Are your anesthesiologist and cardiologist employed by the hospital? Do you have requirements for in house standby in case of emergency (perforation of the heart etc) for a multi disciplinary team while you undergo your pre op cardiac catheterization to diagnose what is wrong with your heart?
5) How long is it going to take you to metabolize your anesthesia and wake up from the procedure? Should the ICU nurses remove you from the ventilator before you are ready so you can save money? Should they deny you pain medication so you are less groggy to accomplish it? You can't get out of the ICU and into the cardiac step down unit (the lower acuity unit from where you will ultimately be discharged) until you are breathing on your own. It's $10k on average per day in the ICU.
6) If your heart goes to shit and the choice is to let you die on the table or put a mechanical assist device to pump your blood and give your heart the chance to recover, do you understand the implications? Do you have an extra $100k for this therapy? Should we charge that to everyone so it's standardized so there are no surprises if you wake up with one?
I, and every hospital CEO eagerly await your informed answers so we can standardize things for you.