To give an example, in Australia Pharmacies have to charge above the minimum cost for medications. So if I need some form of daily medication, the minimum cost for that may be $10 but the pharmacy can charge what they want above that as profit. About ten years ago a specific branch of pharmacies started off bulk purchasing and then charging not much over the minimum, word got around, and all of a sudden instead of having to drive an hour to the nearest store they have two within five minutes of my house. Capitalism at work?As you say it needs a maverick to turn it on its head. IMHO the best first step would be to bring in pricing regulation for pharma and medical care. There was a local article here a few months ago that showed the price range of a basic MRI with a selection of the various providers. The price ranged somewhere from around $1500 to $6500 for exactly the same thing, and the punter is blindly trusting of the medical providers............cos they care don't they. Bolleaux, all they care about is how much money they make.
You can even get pharmacies to price match other pharmacies, if the one I usually go to is charging $15 dollars for prescription medication, but the one next to my doctors practice is charging $20, I can go into the one next to the doctor and ask them to price match the $15 price and they will do.
As for MRIs, CT scan etc, we have a number of providers with offices all round the city. Phone them up, make an appointment, turn up, provide your insurance details and pay any excess and bob's your mothers brother. The last time I twisted my back I saw the doctor at 11:00, had a scan at 14:30, and had the prelim results as I left the scan.