When a heavy metal door swung over her 14-year-old son's foot, ripping the nail almost completely off his big toe, Tina Mobley didn't want to take her chances in a crowded hospital emergency room or wait for an appointment at the pediatrician's office the next day. Instead, she drove to an urgent-care clinic inside a Wal-Mart in Yulee, Fla., near her rural home. Within minutes, the doctor on duty numbed the pain with an injection, removed the nail, and cleaned and bandaged the injury.
Patients who need immediate care for injuries and illness, be it a nail-gun puncture or a severe stomach bug, are increasingly turning to walk-in urgent-care clinics. These facilities aim to fill the gap between the growing shortage of primary-care doctors and a shrinking number of already-crowded hospital emergency departments, with no appointment necessary and extended evening and weekend hours. Urgent-care clinics are staffed by physicians, offer wait times as little as a few minutes and charge $60 to $200 depending on the procedure -- a fraction of the typical $1,000-plus emergency department visit. Some offer discounts and payment plans for the uninsured; for those with coverage, co-payments vary by insurance plan but may be less than half the amount of an ER visit, which range from $50-$200.
MP: Another example of a consumer-friendly, market-driven, convenient and affordable health care option that didn't require Congressional approval, Senate hearings, new legislation, sweeping government reforms, or a government takeover of the U.S. health care system. Never underestimate the power of the invisible hand to provide real, workable, consumer-friendly solutions.
In contast, Senator Obama's proposals for health care reform include new government mandates, increased government regulations, and government subsidies. Never underestimate the power of the visible foot of government to provide imaginary, unworkable, consumer-unfriendly solutions.