Health Care, Walmart, and Free Market Competition

A canard much beloved of the single-payor crowd holds that the free market doesn’t work for health care. Apparently, Walmart and its customers didn’t get the news. As this NYT article points out, the prescription program introduced last year by that much-maligned retailer has been so successful that it is now being expanded: 

Walmart said this morning it was expanding its $4-a-month generic drug program, adding about seven new compounds including generic versions of the widely used heart medication Coreg and the anti-fungal drug Lamisil. 

Now, why is Walmart doing that? Altruism? Nope. The company is trying to lure customers away from its competition. And, to prevent that, its competitors have introduced similar programs. Thus, free market competition is benefiting the patient with lower prices and holding down health care inflation: 

Government economists recently credited those pricing plans with contributing to a slowdown of inflation in the Consumer Price Index for prescription drugs.

This is what always happens when the free market is allowed operate unimpeded by government apparatchiks and idiotic regulations. The market will likewise solve many of health care’s most intractable problems—if we give it a chance.

[via The Medical Quack].

Comments 4

  1. Marc Brown wrote:

    Surely you realise that this is only possible for drugs out of patent – that’s the real ‘competition’.

    Posted 28 Sep 2007 at 3:10 pm
  2. Catron wrote:

    Marc, dude, you missed the point (yet again).

    Posted 28 Sep 2007 at 3:26 pm
  3. Pharmacy God wrote:

    Wanna see brand-name medication prices really drop? Get rid of physician sampling and the so called trial cards. Today I had a card from the manufacturer that took an oral contraceptive price from $46 to $11. I’m sure the manufacturer is still making a pretty penny.

    Get rid of these (and government-contract pricing for hospitals…$45 for 100 Prevacid 30mg when retail pharmacy pays $440) and you’ll see medication costs drop.

    Posted 28 Sep 2007 at 5:10 pm
  4. Matt wrote:

    Catron, YOU don’t believe in the free market for healthcare, so why would you chastise others for the same thing?

    Posted 01 Oct 2007 at 7:45 pm

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