In this John Stossel article, he talks about laser eye surgery, among other things.
Basically, since these procedures are rarely covered by insurance, there's competition--Procedures get better and cheaper, doctors are more concerned with pleasing their patients.
One of the problems I see with the American medical system is that we've got a policy of either excellent care, or no care. Economy-class care isn't available. Some of this is malpractice, but some is because in most cases, care is paid for by someone other than the patient. The result is that basic minimal care costs a lot more than it should.
More and more I think what we need to insure is catastrophic medical, and let the ordinary day-to-day stuff come out of pocket. Require (or at least encourage) providers and pharmacies to post prices in a decipherable way, ideally web-based. Somehow encourage doctors to consider the cost of medication, and give alternatives.
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