To be honest, it isn't almost the same cost.
With a hospital birth you have the cost of the doctor, the facility fees for the mother, AND facility fees for the baby. I would encourage anyone who is comparing the costs to call the local billing dept of the hospital and ask for all those costs. I am paying $3000 for midwifery care right now and what that is equivalent to is my out-of-pocket expenses if I were to birth in the hospital using my current insurance (which I pay about 20%). That is not the same as them actually costing the same.
If you are looking at a practice with 2 midwives, then automatically that fee gets split. Add in gas, CEUs, licensing fees, self-employment taxes (OUCH!), rent for an office, supplies, malpractice for those who have it and suddenly you will see that the midwives really aren't making all that much. When I did my taxes last year, I ended up pretty bummed out by the tiny percentage of my income that was left once I covered all my expenses. Also, keep in mind that most people who hire a midwife REALLY want their own midwife to show up at their birth, which means midwives who are doing homebirth cannot take on the same volume of clients as hospital based practices where only the oncall attends the birth.
I guess this is something each family has to weigh out for themselves. If you don't feel the service is valuable, then you certainly don't have to spend your money on it. The costs are the costs. I can't walk into a doctor's office and demand that I only pay them $20 for a visit since they only spend 5 minutes with me and I can look up information on WebMD, you know? They charge what they charge and I can choose to utilize their services or not.