consumers http://michiganradio.org en How to compare medical costs – right now http://michiganradio.org/post/how-compare-medical-costs-right-now <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Cost comparison – it can be an effective way of saving money. Whether it's comparing the price of a cup of coffee – Starbucks versus Tim Horton's, for instance – or comparing gas prices in different parts of the city or state, checking out cost differences is, for many, just part of a regular day.</span></p><p>But what about comparing medical costs? Would you have any idea what, say, a hip replacement might cost at the hospital you go to?</p><p>If you could tease out those prices and compare them, you might find yourself wondering: Why do some hospitals in the same city or state charge thousands of dollars more for the same procedure? And why is it so tough to get those prices?</p><p>Those are the questions Ilene Wolff, a writer with DBusiness, explored in a <a href="http://www.dbusiness.com/DBusiness/November-December-2013/Charge-Master/">recent story</a>.</p><p><strong><em>To compare prices of services at different hospitals, visit <a href="https://healthcarebluebook.com/">healthcarebluebook.com</a>.&nbsp;</em></strong><strong style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>To look up hospital quality information, visit&nbsp;<a href="http://hospitalcompare.hhs.gov">hospitalcompare.hhs.gov</a>.</em></strong></p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.&nbsp;</em></p><p> Wed, 08 Jan 2014 20:40:00 +0000 Stateside Staff 15935 at http://michiganradio.org How to compare medical costs – right now MSU researchers testing beef tracking from pasture to plate http://michiganradio.org/post/msu-researchers-testing-beef-tracking-pasture-plate <p>Local food is the hottest thing on menus this year. That&rsquo;s according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. Michigan State University researchers are trying to give consumers more information about locally grown food.</p><p>Some say local is the new green. Here&#39;s how two characters in the show <em>Portandia </em>portray the local food movement in America:</p><blockquote><p>Waitress: &ldquo;My name is Dana, I&rsquo;ll be taking care of you today if you have any questions about the menu, please let me know.&rdquo;</p><p>Woman: &ldquo;I guess I do have a question about the chicken. If you could just tell us a little more about it.&rdquo;</p><p>Waitress: &ldquo;Uh, the chicken is a heritage breed, woodland raised chicken that&rsquo;s been fed a diet of sheep&rsquo;s milk, soy and hazelnuts. . .&rdquo;</p><p>Man: &ldquo;This is local?&rdquo;</p><p>Waitress: &ldquo;Yes. Absolutely.&rdquo;</p><p>Man: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to ask you one more time. And it&rsquo;s local?&rdquo;</p><p>Waitress: &ldquo;It is.&rdquo;</p><p>Woman: &ldquo;Is that USDA organic, Oregon organic or Portland organic?&rdquo;</p><p>Waitress: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just all across the board. Organic.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>FOX: Okay, so not every restaurant is like the one featured in this sitcom. But researchers at Michigan State University say people do want more information about their food. They&#39;re starting a pilot program to do just that with local beef.</p><p> Tue, 09 Aug 2011 14:08:09 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 3665 at http://michiganradio.org MSU researchers testing beef tracking from pasture to plate Gas prices pinching retailers http://michiganradio.org/post/gas-prices-pinching-retailers <p>Gasoline prices in Michigan continue to edge closer to <a href="http://www.michigangasprices.com/">$4 a gallon</a>. Rising prices are affecting retailers along with customers. Consumers are taking a double hit,&nbsp; prices are rising at the pump and increasing fuel costs are expected to boost food prices by 3 to 4 percent this year, with the biggest increases in meat, dairy and coffee.&nbsp;</p><p>Many of <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10366_37141_37705---,00.html">Meijer</a>&rsquo;s 101 stores in Michigan have company gas stations sitting in front. Frank Guglielmi&nbsp;is a Meijer&rsquo;s spokesman. He says as gas prices rise the retailer is seeing customer buying patterns change.&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;&quot;The more money they have to spend on fuel for their vehicles, the less they have potentially spend on groceries or general merchandize in a Meijer store.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p>Guglielmi says Michigan consumers have become a &ldquo;battle hardened&rdquo; group&quot; as a result of the double punch of recession and high gasoline prices in recent years.&nbsp;</p><p>The price of fuel is expected to continue to rise through Memorial Day. Thu, 07 Apr 2011 12:57:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 1952 at http://michiganradio.org Gas prices pinching retailers Retailers have item pricing law in their sights http://michiganradio.org/post/retailers-have-item-pricing-law-their-sights <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Retailers say they are more hopeful than they’ve been in many years that Michigan is close to repealing the law that requires them to put a price sticker on every item they sell. But unions and Democrats say they will put up a fight to preserve what they say is a significant consumer protection.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">James Hallan is the president of the <a href="http://www.retailers.com/mra/">Michigan Retailers Association</a>. He says store-owners were pleased to hear in <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/snyder">Governor Rick Snyder’s</a> State of the State address that he is on their side. And Hallan says retailers hope the Legislature’s large Republican majorities will go along with scrapping the 35-year-old law.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">“We have a new administration that is progressive. We have a legislative body that is progressive, and technology has come a long ways from where it was in 1976. Cell phones were not around in 1976. You look at all the new technology, and it’s time we embrace this and not walk away from it."</p></blockquote><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">But not everyone is on board. Chris Michalakis is with the <a href="http://www.ufcw.org/">United Food and Commercial Workers</a> union. He says the item-pricing law remains popular with the public.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">“What we’re hoping is our Republican governor and our Republican majorities in the House and the Senate will listen to consumers and members of their community and when they look to change this law, do it in a way that voters are comfortable with and do it in a way that protects consumers and protects jobs.”</p></blockquote><p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Employee unions say the law remains popular with the public for a reason and, if anything, the item pricing law should be more strongly enforced. Mon, 24 Jan 2011 22:13:56 +0000 Rick Pluta 985 at http://michiganradio.org Retailers have item pricing law in their sights Will price tags be a thing of the past in Michigan? http://michiganradio.org/post/will-price-tags-be-thing-past-michigan <p><em>Price tags? We don't need no stinkin' price tags.</em></p><p>In his <a href="http://www.michiganradionews.org/post/state-state">State of the State</a> address last night, Governor Rick Snyder said the legislature should get rid of or modify "antiquated laws."</p><p>One law he used as an example was the state's "<a href="http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164-34739-134114--,00.html">Item Pricing Law</a>." The law, he said, is an undue burden on retailers. From Snyder's State of the State outline:</p><blockquote><p>"Requiring 'stickers' over other forms of price-marking costs Michigan’s economy over $2 billion dollars a year. Let’s use the technology we have to protect customers."</p></blockquote><p>Michigan Radio news intern, Sarah Alvarez, filed a report on the state's Item Pricing Law. Thu, 20 Jan 2011 22:07:20 +0000 Mark Brush 956 at http://michiganradio.org Will price tags be a thing of the past in Michigan? Big 'techie' show attracts automakers http://michiganradio.org/post/big-techie-show-attracts-automakers <p>Automakers are getting ready for the <a href="http://www.naias.com/">big auto show</a> in Detroit next week, but before they land there, many leaders in the auto industry are attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.</p><p>The show started today and will run through the 9th. Organizers says it's "the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow."</p><p><a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/40946523">CNBC's</a> Phil LeBeau says the show used to attract little attention from the auto industry, but that's changed since more electronic gadgets are finding their way into new cars and trucks.</p><p>LeBeau says the car makers are seeking new ways to increase their profits:</p><blockquote><p>In car entertainment and connectivity, systems like Sync are increasingly must have add-ons for car buyers. And they have no problem paying for them. These systems drive higher transaction prices and greater profit margins.</p></blockquote><p>Ford Motor Company President and CEO, Allan Mulally, will give a keynote address to the conference tomorrow at 11 a.m. CES Conference organizers say "Ford constantly innovates and launches new technologies, like SYNC with speech recognition, that make the driving experience safer through technology." Fri, 07 Jan 2011 01:43:39 +0000 Mark Brush 785 at http://michiganradio.org Big 'techie' show attracts automakers