Saturday, June 20, 2009

Creative Capitalism Filling a Gap with Retail Clinics

In times of economic crisis, the ability of the free market to solve problems may come into question. But in one vital corner of the economy, a little creative capitalism is helping fill a gap.

Enter the retail health clinic. In the past decade, more and more pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, supermarkets such as Kroger and Publix and big-box stores like Wal-Mart have made space for clinics that treat minor ailments, administer vaccines and examine kids who need medical forms to enroll in camp. In those nine years, storefront clinics have logged at least 3.4 million visits. Today there are about 1,200 such clinics, pulling in some $550 million in annual revenue, by one estimate.


~Time Magazine article "Getting Well While You Shop"


MP: While politicians and bureaucrats in Washington dream up the next grandiose government health care reform to address rising healthcare costs and the 44 million uninsured, the most effective, affordable and convenient healthcare solutions might be right around the corner at your local pharmacy or supermarket.

We have a food stamp program to provide food for America's poor, what about "retail healthcare stamps" to provide basic healthcare services for low-income groups?


7 Comments:

At 6/20/2009 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While certainly a seemingly a welcomed concept, it won't put that big of dent in America's health care dilimma for two reasons:

First, retail health care clinics are devoted to non-critical, relatively simple medical procedures. They're okay for minor procedures such as physicals or strep throat, but they do nothing to touch much more critical and much more costly procedures - appendix removal, cancer, back surgery, etc. Outrageous medical costs and high uninsured rates (not to mention that health insurance in America itself doesn’t always hold up) are big reasons why many Americans file for bankruptcy.

Secondly, the expansion of retail health clinics will depend on increasing the number of Nurse Practitioners in the field, something one needs a graduate degree for. Considering America sits with a shortage of LPNs and Rns - both of which one can become qualified for by enrolling through a dinky community college - America isn't going to see its shortage of Nurse Practitioners filled anytime soon.

Just for the record, I don't believe America should pick up any form of government-sponsored health coverage anytime soon, as it's much more imperative it gets its financial house in order first, and wipe out some of that astronomical debt. Believe me, many of us in other parts of the world are little leery of it.

Dan Loyd

 
At 6/20/2009 10:06 PM, Blogger marketdoc said...

The best solution still lies with the free markets. We have seen this to some extent with these Medical Convenience Clinics. They offer convenient, affordable treatment. We also need to take advantage of the Health Service Accounts (HSAs) which reduce the burden placed on insurance companies in processing the $60 medical claim. Most insurers lose money on these small reimbursements and it is necessary for them to raise premiums to make this up.

 
At 6/20/2009 10:11 PM, Blogger marketdoc said...

The best solution still lies with the free markets. We have seen this to some extent with the appearance of these Medical Convenience Clinics. They offer affordable treatment that is accessible by the average consumer. Yes, the debate continues over the quality of care at these clinics but they are filling a need which everyone knows is there. We also need to take advantage of the Health Service Accounts (HSAs) which reduce the burden placed on insurance companies in processing the $60 medical claim. Most insurers lose money on these small reimbursements and it is necessary for them to raise premiums to make this up.

 
At 6/20/2009 10:33 PM, Blogger LibertyLover said...

I'm not wild about the "healthcare stamps" idea. The free market is absolutely essential to this, and getting government out of it is necessary to bring market pressures to bear. In order to do that, market alternatives must be devised so the government is not just paying for services through Medicare and Medicaid -- the system of third-party payer is one of the fundamental problems with our inflated healthcare costs.

I agree with you that we need more use of HSAs. That needs to be combined with a change in the thought of the people: health insurance should NOT be a third party paying for every healthcare cost. Health insurance should be like your car insurance -- in case of catastrophic events only.

We also need to get rid of tax incentives for companies to provide routine care health insurance. It is only perpetuating a bad system and forcing coverage to be tied to employment.

 
At 6/20/2009 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outrageous medical costs and high uninsured rates (not to mention that health insurance in America itself doesn’t always hold up) are big reasons why many Americans file for bankruptcy.

This statement is complete garbage. Most of these studies have been done, or at least summarized, by advocates of socialized medicine.

In fact, the author and co-author of the Harvard study referred to in this ABC report are the National Spokesman and the Secretary of Physicians for a National Health Plan.

ABC rips into it:

President Obama’s kicking off his health care reform today in the worst possible way: with a mischaracterization of data.

“The cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds," Obama said at the opening of his White House forum on health care reform. The problem: That claim, based on a 2001 survey, is simply unsupportable.

The figure comes from a 2005 Harvard University study saying that 54 percent of bankruptcies in 2001 were caused by health expenses. We reviewed it internally and knocked it down at the time; an academic reviewer did the same in 2006. Recalculating Harvard’s own data, he came up with a far lower figure – 17 percent.

A more recent study by another group, approaching it another way, indicates that in 2007 about eight-tenths of one percent of Americans lived in families that filed for bankruptcy as a result of medical costs. That rings a little less loudly than “one every 30 seconds.”

ABC

The study claims that anyone filing for bankruptcy with more than 5000 dollars of medical bills is a medical bankrupt, regardless of their other liabilities.

It's pathetic how leftists must manufacture lies in order to sell their agenda.

 
At 6/21/2009 6:28 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"It's pathetic how leftists must manufacture lies in order to sell their agenda"...

Absolutely agree anon @ 11:28 PM...

There is also this by those folks at the IBD: The administration uses the "46 million uninsured" as a reason to nationalize health care. But the Census Bureau says about a fifth of those aren't U.S. citizens. In fact, a goodly number are illegal aliens

The site Right Truth goes even farther: Almost half of uninsured in America are illegal aliens

How factually correct both these postings are might be open to question but the unadorned fact is that we aren't getting anything but questionable information from the administration...

 
At 6/22/2009 9:31 AM, Blogger Donny Baseball said...

My family of five uses our mini-clinic alot. We love it for the convenience and cost. Our pedatrician gives us grief when we use it but we tell him, drop your price to diagnose an ear infection and have weekend hours and we'll come see you instead. He just growls. It would be a shame, no a crime, if politicians shut this great concept down.

 

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