Rick Ungar (and Greg Sargent) point out the absurdity of thinking the health care market works like any other free market, complete with coupons and comparison shopping.
I’d like to see anyone “comparison shop” when they’re lying in the ER after a heart attack, or in the doctor’s office after being diagnosed with cancer.
Asking for second opinions? Sure, but that’s an entirely different thing. You’re not debating about cost; you’re deciding on the best course of treatment and which doctor, hospital and/or clinic will deliver that treatment. (Or, rather, which doctor/hospital/clinic your insurance company will allow to deliver that treatment. And if you don’t have insurance, you’re either figuring how to organize a bake sale, seeing if you can get some kind of government help [good luck with that in my state of Arizona] or going home to die.)
You don’t debate the cost of a stent, open-heart surgery, or a chemo drug! You either get it and live or don’t get it and die. The very idea is stupid.
Rick Ungar points that out far better than I. Go forth and read.