Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Free Health Care: But Not From The Government

NEW YORK Drugstore operator Walgreens will offer free clinic visits to the unemployed and uninsured for the rest of the year, providing tests and routine treatment for minor ailments through its walk-in clinics — though patients will still pay for precriptions.

Walgreens said patients who lose their job and health insurance after March 31 will be able to get free treatment at its in-store Take Care clinics for respiratory problems, allergies, infections and skin conditions, among other ailments. Typically those treatments cost $59 or more for patients with no insurance.

Walgreens runs 341 Take Care clinics (pictured above) in 35 markets around the country, including Chicago, Atlanta, Miami and Cleveland.

Thanks to Kevin Sewell for the pointer to


At 4/01/2009 10:24 AM, Anonymous Annonymous 4:26 AM said...

This is the same system that the doctors used in Malaysia when I visited this last Christmas. When I visited the doctor, he did not charge me for the visit. However, he prescribed some over the counter anti-biotics and pain killers (which I bought). He makes his money from the sales, not from visit payments.

In Malaysia, though, it was expected that the patient buy the prescription. It was considered rude not to buy it. However, the drugs come to a total of $5, and is within the budget of the other Malaysians who were in the office.

At 4/01/2009 5:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice idea, but I would be a little worried about over prescribing. Precriptions is one of the key factors that have driven healthcare costs so high. The only way Walgreens will make money is by issuing a prescription (and hoping the patient buys it there).

At 4/01/2009 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Mexico, the "Farmacias Similares" chain has almost free clinics--cost about one dollar. It is an enormous chain with thousands of locations. You don't have to buy their medicine (but it is also the cheapest in Mexico).
The Owner, Doctor Simi ran for president in 2006!

At 4/01/2009 8:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No requirement to get your prescription filled at Walgreens. The patient has the freedom to have their prescription filled at the pharmacy of their choice. The Take Care staff will even check the price of the prescription at that pharmacy before the patient leaves. If it is too expensive, before the patient even leaves the clinic, the order can be changed to something more affordable. Usually at most doctors visit, the physician prescribes the "newer" drugs being promoted by the drug reps. This medications are not available in generic forms and are often times VERY EXPENSIVE. Hats off to Take Care for providing affordable health care.

At 4/02/2009 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look for the current administration (with partisan support from the legislative) to begin aggressively regulating this type of activity. Free medical care competes with the government's agenda to provide health care. It can't keep people dependant if other resources offer the same benefit. The government hates competition.


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