A recent Washington Times article examines an ongoing market-driven health care option, in contrast to the grossly inefficient socialized medicine system of Canada:
In the U.S., we have a market-based response to the problem. A rapid expansion of retail health clinics in the United States is taking place in what the Department of Health and Human Services has designated as medically underserved areas. Take MinuteClinics, a division of the drugstore chain CVS, which offers walk-in health care centers for common medical problems such as strep throat, sunburn, mono, flu, ear infections and sinus infections, and offer vaccinations, checkups, etc. People can pay cash or use their regular insurance. Most visits are 15 minutes or less with no appointment needed. In many cases, MinuteClinics are often affiliated with local hospital or physician practices, and will refer customers to a primary care doctor if they don’t have one. Additionally, the center generates an electronic medical record that customers and doctors can access through the phone, fax or Internet.
There are 200 MinuteClinics across America. Most are in federally designed medically underserved areas providing immediate care, referrals and electronic medical records for about $50 per person. Other private companies are involved in this trend as well and have been joined by the American Academy of Family Physicians in an effort to improve access to health care for millions Americans.
A great deal of why our current health care system in America is so broken is that we have for the last 50 years progressively taken more and more of the free market out of the system, while increasing more and more government intervention (Medicare, Medicaid, government regulation, etc.). Our current system is not truly a free market system, with the government paying roughly have of the medical bills in this country, but neither is it yet a fully socialized medicine setup because the government still isn’t regulating or centrally controlling the vast majority of the system.
It’s time to swing back to the free market that helped build the economic dynamo that has traditionally been the United States.
HT to the National Center for Policy Analysis.