Informed consent, price transparency, and disclosure

Bioethics 37 (8):741-747 (2023)
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Abstract

In the American medical system, patients do not know the final price of treatment until long after the treatment is given, at which point it is too late to say “no.” I argue that without price disclosure many, perhaps all, tokens of consent in clinical medicine fall below the standard of valid, informed consent. This is a sweeping and broad thesis. The reason for this thesis is surprisingly simple: medical services rarely have prices attached to them that are known to the patient prior to treatment. Yet, for many patients, knowledge of the price is relevant to whether they would give consent. If informed consent requires that patients know all information about their treatment that is relevant to their decision, then consent to a medical intervention in the absence of the price is not informed consent.

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Samuel Director
Florida Atlantic University

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