According to this press release, Wal-Mart intends to contract with local hospitals and other organizations to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics over the next two to three years, and if current market forces continue, up to 2,000 clinics over the next five to seven years. The clinic program’s expansion is just the latest in a series of moves by Wal-Mart to help implement customer solutions to America’s health care crisis, including the $4 generic drug prescription program. (Note: Customers have saved $290 million from this program just since September, and one-third of $4 prescriptions are bought by the uninsured.)
“We think the clinics are going to provide something our customers and communities desperately need – affordable access at the local level to quality health care,” said Wal-Mart's CEO Lee Scott.
From an editorial in today's IBD "Dr Sam": Wal-Mart's advance into health care is a testament to private-sector industriousness. While others whine about America's health care "crisis," and back monstrous government programs to solve it, Wal-Mart is actually making care more affordable. Yes, the same Wal-Mart that politicians and activists demonize because its pay and benefits supposedly are insufficient.
But watch out for some new Wal-Mart bashers: physicians and their staffs who don't really want to have to compete against Wal-Mart. Will Wal-Mart now be accussed of "crushing" overpaid physicians, and putting small clinics out of business? Bottom Line: Gotta Love Wal-Mart, and it's too bad for consumers it was kept out of banking.