Bob tipped me to a new transparency tool available to Massachusetts' health care consumers. It's called My Health Care Options, and it's an online resource to help folks find health care providers based on location, cost and outcomes.
You input your zip code (or city, etc), and then choose to search for hospitals, physicians, or a number of other providers. Once selected, you can also specify what kind of service to research: an operation, baby delivery, MRI or whatever. Based on preference, the results can be sorted by price, or how many ICU beds are available, or a host of other criteria.
There's even consumer ratings (how well they were treated, etc); kind of like "user reviews" at Amazon and the like.
It seems pretty user-friendly, too: you don't have to know CPT codes or other medical jargon, just the service or procedure's name (e.g. "angioplasty" or "Cesarean Section").
And the site will "bottom line" it for you, as well: while there are no actual dollar figures (which seems to me to be a requirement sadly missing here), there are comparative ratings to give you an idea of who's more expensive, and who's less. It may be that, since this seems to be a relatively new service, the actual costs haven't been included yet, but will be down the road. Let's hope so, and soon.
The service itself is provided by the Massachusetts Health Care Quality and Cost Council, which was set up as part of the original Mass Care program. Frankly, this may the best thing to come out of that endeavor.