(NEWSER) – Hospital billing is notoriously complicated—and treatment at a US hospital is notoriously expensive. The New York Times highlights those issues in an extensive piece today, and uses stitches and similar treatments as an example of both points: One patient at a California hospital was billed $2,229.11 to get three stitches; another patient at the same hospital was charged $1,696 to have a gash sealed with skin glue. At a New York City hospital, a patient was billed $3,355.96 for five stitches; in Jacksonville, $2,000 for three stitches; in Michigan, $3,000 for six stitches. Why can they charge so much? Hospitals hold the most power in the health care system, meaning they can demand high prices, and there's little or no regulation. What's more, the costs can very wildly depending on where you live.
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