The secret world of health-care pricing


Gregory Warner: It’s called the Relative Value Update Committee, but everyone knows it as the RUC. It’s a committee of the AMA. It meets every four months in a hotel conference room. And right here — this being a radio story — is where I’d play you the sound of one of those meetings. You might hear heated debates between some three dozen doctors over which procedures should be worth and which ones Medicare should pay higher prices for.

But I can’t play you that sound because RUC meetings are invitation only. Observers are sworn to secrecy. Even the names of the doctors on this private committee were — until recently — kept confidential. For those who have been before the RUC, it’s a powerful experience.