The Free Market and Surgery

When was the last time you paid attention to the cost of any medical procedure (not your copay or share - but the actual cost)?  When was the last time you balanced whether to have an incremental medical procedure, such as an extra test, based on cost vs. benefits?  If you are like most Americans, the answer is "not lately" because our health care system does not give the end consumer any of the normal incentives to "shop" that they would when, say, buying a TV.

Marginal Revolution has a great post on laser eye surgery, probably one of the most popular medical procedures not covered by traditional insurance (I would normally guess "most" popular surgery, but having lived in Dallas and Scottsdale, I am all-too-aware of the popularity of breast implant surgery as well).  Guess what - it is one of the few medical procedures with high satisfaction and falling prices.