West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin throws up his hands and says although his hernia surgery was eight months ago, he still doesn't know how much it cost. He received bills for months and then a refund for an overpayment -- even though he paid the amount he was billed. Mechanics charge for parts and labor in one bill. When contractors erect buildings they provide single statements even if they subcontract work, he argues.
Now, Manchin wants the healthcare industry to do the same. Manchin and lawmakers say they expect healthcare issues to dominate the 2006 legislative session, which begins Jan. 11. Other health care issues expected to be discussed include: improving the use of electronic data systems for medical record-keeping; monitoring federal cuts to Medicaid and other social service programs; and helping senior citizens understand their Medicare drug coverage options.