Why a joint replacement costs $30,000 in one hospital and $160,000 in another

New data reveals just how dysfunctional America's healthcare system is

Hip replacement surgery at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Merriam, Kan. Oct. 8, 2003.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

If you need a lower joint replacement, Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington D.C. will charge you or your insurance provider an average of $30,000, according to The Washington Post. Across town at George Washington University, the same procedure will cost $69,000. And at Las Colinas Medical Center near Dallas? $160,832.

Those bewildering price differences were revealed by the Obama administration to reporters at The Washington Post, New York Times and Huffington Post. They represent what different hospitals charge Medicare for the exact same procedures — information the government has been collecting for years but was previously only available to researchers for a high fee.

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