In yesterday's New York Times there was an article about medical spas. The article is subtitled: "let the buyer beware". This is a general premise in economics. People should be responsible for their own choices (consumer sovereignty). In other markets we let people make their own choices. In medical care (particularly with respect to elective procedures outside traditional medical care settings) we may need more regulated markets than exist at present.
Just this morning, my wife asked my son to make sure that some DVDs he had ordered through my wife's eBay account were acceptable. She was then going to post feedback for the seller. With eBay everyone is expected to post good or bad feedback so that other potential buyers and sellers working with that individual in the future have all the information they need to determine whether they want to engage the person in a market transaction. If a person takes the chance despite poor feedback and finds no way to get their money after a bad transaction, they are out some money. But it is usually just money.
If a person makes a decision to undertake a medical procedure, he may be risking his life. In the article it mentions a liposuction that lead to a death. The key is whether consumers understand all the potential consequences of a procedure and judge how a particular provider's expertise (or lack of expertise) affects the likelihood of negative potential consequences. Unless consumers learn more about the poor consequences and likelihood of these, the government should take at least some role in regulating the market and making more information available for consumer participants in the market. This is what is being debated in several states as described by the article.
Lemon Zest, Turkish Apricot Scones
2 years ago