The Retail Revolution in Health Care

The Retail Revolution in Health Care

The Retail Revolution in Health Care

The Retail Revolution in Health Care

Synopsis

Health care is in crisis today: costs are rising, quality is deteriorating, and access is limited. Across the nation, however, bold new options are being put into place. In 2009, there were approximately 1,000 retail clinics in the United States offered by companies such as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Publix, and Kroger. Studies show that about 90 percent of consumers are satisfied with their experience at these outlets.

Excerpt

Rising health care costs, consumer discontent, and voter dissatisfaction have created fertile ground for radically changing the health care system. But which direction will change take us? Will it be toward the adoption of a national health plan that is government controlled? President Barack Obama’s health reform plans emphasize more government control, including the possibility of a national health plan. Or is there another option emerging from the private sector? During the past decade the private sector has been quietly entering health care markets and innovating away from existing health care delivery systems and structures that do not work. In particular, large retailers have been experimenting with a variety of health service delivery models and products that promise affordable and convenient health care.

More than a decade ago Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich predicted that health care was going to end up under the control of either the government or the marketplace. There would no longer be a middle ground; the existing health care system that combines both private and public structures and markets would disappear.

One of the challenges I’ve made to doctors is, I said you’re either
going to go to Canada or to Wal-Mart. You can either go to a nation
ally controlled bureaucratic structure or you can go to the market
place. But you are not going to stay in a guild status where you
have all of the knowledge, you share none of it. (Gingrich, 1995)

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