I was reading through the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll on health care issues today, noting the slow but steady growth of the “keep or fix” majority over “repeal” with respect to Obamacare, and this more general question and answer jumped out at me:

When asked about the reasons behind rising health care costs, the public finds plenty of sources to blame. At the top of the list are high hospital charges (73 percent say this is a “major reason” for rising costs), followed by fraud and waste in the health care system (68 percent). About six in ten see other major reasons including rising costs in general (63 percent), drug and insurance companies making too much money (62 percent and 60 percent, respectively), and expensive advances in medical technology (58 percent). Other factors are seen as major reasons for rising costs by about half the public, including the aging of the population (50 percent), the cost of defending against medical malpractice lawsuits (48 percent), people getting more tests and services than they really need (48 percent), and high charges by doctors (46 percent).

That’s encouraging news for Phillip Longman and Paul Hewitt, who warned in the current issue of the Washington Monthly that monopolistic practices by hospitals were not only the great unknown source of health care inflation, but a huge threat to the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The rest of the news media haven’t caught onto this just yet, but it’s clear regular citizens have become aware through their personal experiences that the hospital charges are too damn high!

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.