The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the growing trend of “direct to consumer” lab testing, where people are able to order their own lab tests via the Internet without the need for costly doctor visits. Through a variety of labs available online, consumers can order tests ranging from checking cholesterol levels and blood sugar to a wide variety of more comprehensive testing.
The Journal article focuses on a woman who wants to closely monitor her cholesterol levels but has a high-deductible insurance plan. According to the article, she orders the tests herself using an online service that charges about $40 for the test, which, she states “cut[s] out the middleman.”
The labs post their prices on websites, fostering competition in the marketplace and enabling people to shop around for labs that best meet their medical and financial needs. These labs also complement health care savings accounts by giving patients affordable options and the ability to make informed choices about how to spend their health care savings.
With rising insurance rates, deductibles, and co-pays, these labs offer accessibility and discounted rates that provide an affordable and convenient way for consumers to take charge of their health care.
The free market can fill consumers’ need for affordable health care options. Efforts to contain health care costs should start with real reform, which would give Americans more liberty instead of government-imposed mandates such as Obamacare.
Diane Cohen is a senior attorney for the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.
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Wall Street Journal: Worried about cholesterol? Order your own tests