An editorial accompanying the hip replacement study said "there is no justification" for the huge cost variation the researchers found.
A few online sites provide price comparisons for common medical procedures, but the editorial said that kind of information "is of almost no value" without information on hospital quality.
A proposed federal measure that would have required states to force hospitals to make their charges public failed to advance in Congress last year but could be revived this year, the editorial says.
"It is time we stopped forcing people to buy health care services blindfolded," the editorial said.
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