Healthia, a Website that lets you find health plans and write reviews about your doctor, has a really great new price-comparison feature that points to the coming era of consumer-driven healthcare. You can put in your zipcode and see what local hospitals charge for different procedures. For instance, in New York City, the list price for a craniotomy can range from $43,000 (at Memorial Hospital for Cancer) to $122,000 (at Beth Israel), according to the site. It also tells you which hospital does the procedure the most often (New York Presbyterian) and which hospital across the country is the very cheapest (Hospital De La Concepcion in Puerto Rico only charges $8,300).
That's the kind of information I would want to know before going in for a major operation. Now if we could just get doctor-specific data (weighted in such a way that does not penalize doctors who take on the unhealthiest, highest-risk patients), then we could really start to take control of our own healthcare and make some informed choices.
(Hat tip to David Cowan).