Nonprofit Aims To Fight 'Bull***' Healthcare Price Estimates


“Estimates are Bull****,” declares a new :30 spot that dares to imagine a world in which other industries use pricing policies similar to hospitals and health insurance companies.

The paid campaign, from nonprofit advocacy group Power to the Patients, is running through spring on news programming in the Washington, D.C. area.

The key target audience is Congress, the White House and their staffs “as we push for much needed legislation for healthcare price transparency,” Power to the Patients tells Pharma& Health Insider.

“It’s also important to remind all Americans of the absurdity of our rigged healthcare system,” the nonprofit adds, noting that the spot can also be seen nationally via digital and social.

The commercial, created by Swift River Productions, opens with a boss in a retail store telling two employees that “we'll show customers a low estimated price and then charge them something much higher.” “Like a hospital,” replies one. “Like an insurance company,” says the other.

“All gas prices estimated,” says a sign at the pumps. “All haircuts $10/estimated price only,” reads another at a barber shop.

“Welcome to the age of no more actual prices, just estimates, the same greedy profit scheme created by hospitals and insurers,” says a voiceover.

“While this portrayal of our rigged healthcare system includes levity, there is nothing humorous, nor civilized, about more than 100 million Americans struggling in medical debt because hospitals and insurers have exploited our dependence upon them,” Power to the Patients co-founder Kevin Morra said in a statement.” “We are all desperate for lawmakers in Washington to act on behalf of the people they are in office to represent.”

A bipartisan bill seeking to strengthen and expand healthcare price transparency requirements passed the House of Representatives last month, and similar bipartisan legislation is now before the U.S. Senate.

What could generate such rare bipartisan support?

Power to the Patients cites a recent report from (PRA) which found that prices varied by an average of 10 times for the same care within the same hospitals across different health plans, and by an average of more than 30 times for said care at different hospitals within the same state. PRA also says that only 36% of hospitals comply with federal rules requiring them to disclose prices.

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