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Scientists reprogrammed the common bacterium E. coli so it requires a synthetic amino acid to live. BSIP/UIG via Getty Images hide caption

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A Kaiser mental health worker with the National Union of Healthcare Workers looks through a pile of signs Monday during day one of a week-long demonstration outside of a Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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U.S. funding for medical research by source, 1994-2012. (Data were adjusted to 2012 dollars using the Biomedical Research and Development Price Index.) American Medical Association hide caption

itoggle caption American Medical Association

Steven Brill is a journalist who also founded Court TV, American Lawyer magazine, 10 regional legal newspapers and Brill's Content Magazine. He teaches journalism at Yale. Courtesy of Random House hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Random House

Palliative medicine physician Michael Fratkin gets off a plane after visiting a patient on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. He's recently launched a startup to support this kind of work. April Dembosky/KQED hide caption

itoggle caption April Dembosky/KQED

Need a gift for a 20-something kid about to age out of the family's health plan? Juana Rivera (left) discusses insurance options with Fabrizzio Russi, an agent from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors, at the Mall of the Americas in Miami. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Where are the health insurance deals? On the exchanges, many small businesses have concluded. Bjorn Rune Lie/Ikon Images/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Bjorn Rune Lie/Ikon Images/Getty Images

David Goldhill (second from left) talks with Dan Hilferty of Independence Blue Cross, Kevin Nazemi of Oscar Insurance and Sam Nussbaum of WellPoint in a conversation about health costs. Moderator Avik Roy is at far left. Glen Davis/Forbes hide caption

itoggle caption Glen Davis/Forbes

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade County Public Schools says he knows how much gets paid out in health care claims, but the school system's insurance carrier, Cigna, won't disclose the charges. Lynne Sladky/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Lynne Sladky/AP

Victoria Elizabeth Fischer was presented with a white coat by her grandfather, Dr. Christian Van Den Heuvel, at Georgetown University School of Medicine in August. The ceremony marks the start for each new class of medical students. Lisa Helfert/Courtesy of Georgetown University hide caption

itoggle caption Lisa Helfert/Courtesy of Georgetown University

Insurance companies negotiate with hospitals and doctors the price of every treatment, procedure and medical service. That price differs from hospital to hospital — even health plan to health plan. Vincent Wartner/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption Vincent Wartner/Science Source

Ouch! Jeffrey Craig Hopper got good emergency treatment after being hit in the eye with a baseball in June. But months later he was slapped with an extra medical bill he never expected. Jennifer Hopper hide caption

itoggle caption Jennifer Hopper

In 49 U.S. states, spotting the squished disc in this spinal MRI is still much easier than learning the price of the MRI in advance. AWelshLad/iStockphoto hide caption

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