'Dr. Plinko': The game show for healthcare prices

Handwriting on graph paper, indicating competitive pricing
Competitive pricing.

Where do healthcare pricing, carnival fairways and performance art intersect?

It might be at City-Wide Open Studios, the arts festival in New Haven, Connecticut. A physician affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital is using the 2016 festival's gaming theme to create one that illuminates the sector's lack of price transparency, according to the Yale News.

That would be “Dr. Plinko,” a riff on the “Price is Right” where contestants guess the retail prices of consumer items. But in “Dr. Plinko,” contestants guess the price of healthcare services.

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“Players will learn the difference between the price of over-the counter medications and what the hospital charges for them, which is eye-opening,” Adam Berkwitt, M.D., the creator “Dr. Plinko,” told the publication. Contestants can also find out their ongoing costs for having a moderate to severe illness, as well as the lingering effects of racking up medical debt.

Berkwitt said “Dr. Plinko” is a culmination of two of his big interests: Game shows and healthcare pricing.

Using pop culture to draw attention to the lack of price transparency may be coming at an opportune time. Most states still receive failing grades on their healthcare price transparency efforts. In the meantime, there has been a greater call for price transparency, with an online petition to the White House receiving more than 100,000 signatures.