Many individuals claim that a free market in health care leads to increased prices, while others have claimed the reverse. All of them point to soaring health care costs in the United States.
Eye surgery (corrective sight operations) is one of the few health-related markets that is unregulated in the United States and there we have seen a different trend than for the overall health care service industry. While the nominal price has increased, the price corrected for both “all items” CPI and “medical” CPI has led to either a stable price or a slight reduction.
In my “data sets” section, you will find a series that pertain to the price of LASIK’s operation per eye. The data is suggestive and not autoritative as I have combined different sources. I am especially cautions about the 1999 data point as it is derived from a research that charges to obtain their study, which makes it impossible to evaluate the reliability of the data.
However, I do believe that this data set can be somewhat useful in illustrating the benefits of markets and competition in the world of health care.