"There are hundreds of espresso machines that do not have a (milk) steaming wand" - that's not true at all.
If we are talking about bean-to-cup espress machines there are really few. I remember only Melitta Caffeo Solo, cheapest modifications of Philips/Saeco Xsmall (HD8648) and Jura Ena Micro 1.
There are a bit more models without a pannarello, only with the tube for hot water/steam. It's harder to froth the milk on the simple tube, however it's still a steamer. Philips Saeco HD8743/11 in the UK is a great example.
However, if you want to spend less on the machine w/o the steamer since you don't need it, than it's useless. All these rare modifications usually costs the same or even more than normal versions of the same machine with the steam wand.
So this is not the sitaution when you ar eiverpaying for the steam wand. Also the wand is useful not only for milk frothing, bit for delievering hot water as well (for tea, for americano).