Walmart to the Rescue
By David Henderson
While away on my vacation in Canada, I missed this story about Walmart and health care. Here’s an excerpt:
After years of “Will they or won’t they?” discussion, Walmart is making its long-awaited move into delivering primary care: The retailer has quietly opened a half-dozen primary care clinics across South Carolina and Texas, and plans to launch six more before January.
But didn’t Wal-Mart already have a presence in health care? Yes, the article explains, but his goes further:
So why fuss over a handful of new clinics?
Because unlike those retail clinics — which Walmart hosts through leases with local hospitals, resulting in mixed success — these new clinics are fully owned by the company and branded explicitly as one-stop shops for primary care.
Because the clinics will be open longer and later than competitors: 12 hours per day during the week and another 8-plus hours per day on weekends.
Notice also that one thing South Carolina and Texas have in common is that neither has expanded Medicaid coverage as the ObamaCare law tried to make them do until the Supreme Court put a stop to it:
“Both Texas and South Carolina have primary care access problems, [but] interestingly, the access problem is specifically related to cost,” she [Alicia Daugherty] says. “And neither state is expanding Medicaid, so both will continue to have a group of uninsured who will prioritize cost when seeking care. Obviously, both also have high rates of obesity, smoking, chronic conditions, and poverty.”
I often hesitate to make predictions, but here’s one: the wait at Walmart will be substantially shorter than the wait that Medicaid patients have in those same states.
This will be interesting.