The free market is the answer to healthcare “reform” and reviled retail giant, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest employer, is leading the way. Wal-mart’s in store pharmacies have saved consumers over $1 billion with their $4.00 prescription drug service. Now the retail giant is offering inexpensive healthcare services with no insurance required. Additionally, prices are fixed, advertised, and generally around $45 a visit.
From Wal-Mart’s website:
Our retail clinics are an especially valuable resource for individuals without health insurance. Nearly half of all clinic patients report that they are uninsured. Many visitors have said that if it were not for our clinics, they wouldn’t have gotten care — or they would’ve had to go to an emergency room. By visiting one of our clinics, patients receive the care they need and at the same time reduce overcrowding in emergency rooms and eliminate the costs of unnecessary hospital visits. Through innovation, driven by the profit motive, the private sector is finding real solutions to societal problems. Contrast this with the failure and insolvency of government “solutions”, Medicare and Medicaid, and the case is made for removing governmental encumbrances on the free-market. Unfortunately, common sense and success has never deterred the central planners in Washington and other governments.
Private companies that are allowed to do business without government intervention (and without being granted a government-sanctioned monopoly) must offer better-quality services or lower prices to continue to attract customers. One example of a company that consistently offers both better-quality products and services and lower prices is Wal-Mart. Even Wal-Mart’s critics typically agree that it is always about low prices.
Indeed, many governments have issued antitrust cases against Wal-Mart for charging too low a price (so-called “predatory pricing”). Because of the threat of antitrust prosecution — and especially given that antitrust laws are so vaguely defined — businesses are more fearful of taking on risk, and less efficient in serving the consumer.
Fortunately, however, Wal-Mart has continued to grow and has recently ventured into the healthcare market. While the US government adds more bureaucracy and money to the healthcare situation, private companies such as Wal-Mart are innovating and bringing the blessings of healthcare to many. Wal-Mart has given access to lower-priced, affordable products to “poor” and millions of uninsured individuals. They are the world’s largest (private) employer, with over two million employees serving over 200 million customers a year. Sam Walton should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, which have lifted millions out of poverty, and continue to do so.
Instead of letting entrepreneurs and the free market provide economic solutions, we have an out of control bureaucracy extorting our money and wasting it on failed theories and programs.
God help us!