Talk is Cheap; Retail Clinics Already DO Bend the Cost Curve Down; Latest Example: $35 Physicals
From CPAC's 2010 Blogger of the Year, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, "Retail Health Care and Reform":
With the ObamaCare bill approaching a final vote, this seems like a good time to remind readers that other options are available for reforming the cost structure of American medical care.Bending the Cost Curve Downward, EXHIBIT A:
What are “retail health clinics”? Chances are, you’ve already seen them. These clinics have begun rapidly spreading to malls, big-box retail stores such as Wal-Mart and Target as concessionaires, and drug stores like Walgreens. Instead of hiding behind insurance co-pays, the clinics offer pricing up front to consumers, so that they can decide for themselves what to “buy” and how much they want to pay for service.
This is the same mechanism that works to keep prices down and supply consistent in other areas of health care that insurance plans do not traditionally cover. For instance, cosmetic surgery and Lasik rely entirely on consumer compensation. There are no third-party payers to get in the way of rationally allocating resources to demand. In those markets, producers and consumers find each other in the normal manner, advertising, discounts, and price competition, and the market attracts new providers when scarcity appears and prices rise.
If we want to reform care, bend the cost curve downward, and promote supply in the health-care industry, we need to learn the lesson from retail health clinics. The top-down reform proposed by Congress threatens to stop real reform and amplify everything that’s currently wrong with the system.
DRUG STORE NEWS -- Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced that it now is offering camp and sports physicals at all Take Care Clinics nationwide. The clinics, located within nearly 360 Walgreens stores nationwide, are offering physicals for $35 through the end of September. The physicals are administered by nurse practitioners and, in select markets, physician assistants.
HT to Wright Truesdell for the Ed Morrissey link.