Breaking down restaurant fees the way hospitals do

Image: WHYY’s The Pulse & Don Greenfield

Image: WHYY’s The Pulse & Don Greenfield

It’s not often that we can tell you something about health care prices and also make you laugh … but we spotted a link to this on Twitter the other day and it’s priceless (no pun intended).

You all know by now that hospital bills make little sense, and that fee for service has its … shall we say … absurdities.

Take a look at this parody of a hospital cafeteria pricing from WHYY’s The Pulse.

If you have a pre-adolescent child, they’ll probably like the “flush” fee.

One of my health care journalist friends particularly liked the 62 cent fee for the server asking if everything is OK.

My personal favorite was the disconnect between the fee for preparing the food, and the price charged for the menu item:  $2.50 to cook the 23 cent quesadilla, or $1.18 for the 12 cent French fries.

Maybe time for a little menu bundling? Or an Accountable Food Organization?


Reporter Lisa Zamosky reports that her father recently found the bill for her birth and it was very different from the bills we see today:

More remarkable, I thought, was the hospital paperwork from 1969. It looks more like a receipt you’d get from a hardware store than from a hospital.

The simple, one-page document lists my parents’ names, the total cost of care and just three options for payment: cash, check or money order. There were no co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles to meet. My parents didn’t receive an onslaught of bills once they left the hospital.

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