The Washington Post has published an interesting take on Theranos, the clinical laboratory company that is fighting off critical press coverage from the Wall Street Journal:
When Theranos chose to publish its entire list of test prices online, with average prices set at half the Medicare reimbursement rates, the public took notice. In reality, the difference in price was less an effect of Theranos' technological innovations and more a product of Medicare overpaying for many of these procedures. The fundamental problem is that patients have no sense of the true cost of a routine blood test. Historically, lab processes and prices have remained opaque as it provided the advantage that labs can charge varying prices to different insurers for the same tests, a practice known as price discrimination. With the introduction of policies such as Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA) of 2014, insurers are attempting to establish more transparency in payments and Theranos is embracing this change....In a health care environment in which insurers, providers, and labs are consolidating to increase their own power, Theranos is giving power to patients. Despite the existence of incumbent labs with deep pockets and political connections, this startup effectively passed the most democratizing law for patient testing to date – no doctor's note required.