July 17, 2008
Falling Health Care Prices
By Jim Babka
Quote of the Day: "Politicians never accuse you of "greed" for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." - Joseph Sobran

Subject: Falling health care prices

Overall, health care prices continue to rise faster than the rate of inflation, but there are exceptions. The cost of some procedures and drugs is falling, both in terms of time and money.

What happened? Did Congress pass a law or create a new program? No. Congress had nothing to do with it. Instead, it happened because of . . .

Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kroger, CVS, and Target.

These companies looked at the soaring cost of health care, and the huge amount of time Americans spend waiting for an appointment -- and then waiting in a waiting room -- and they saw a business opportunity. For instance . . .

In 2006 Wal-Mart started offering 300 generic drugs for $4 a prescription. It then added 24 more drugs to the list in 2007. The program expanded again this year. Customers can now buy a 90-day supply of 350 different drugs for just $10. The list of $4 prescriptions has also grown, to more than 1,000.

The drug prices Wal-Mart now charges are actually less than the co-pay many people pay through their insurance!

Compare this to the government run prescription drug program Congress created in 2003. It was "budgeted" to cost $400 billion over 10 years, but by the end of its first year the cost had soared to more than $800 billion -- a 100% increase!

Now Wal-Mart is adding walk-in health clinics in partnership with local hospitals, with a goal of having 400 outlets by 2010. This is a major new business trend that includes Walgreens, Kroger, CVS, and Target.

These clinics offer incredible benefits . . .

* They don't require appointments -- you can just walk in
* Wait times are short
* Prices are posted, and are low compared to a standard office visit
* The clinics take insurance, or you can pay cash
* If you need a prescription you can save time by filling it at the in-store pharmacy
* And, as more of these pharmacies have to compete with Wal-Mart, drug prices should fall across the board

Better yet, these clinics will reduce crowding and wait-times in emergency rooms and traditional doctor's offices all across America, helping to reduce costs throughout the health care industry.

The free market always responds to higher prices by finding innovative ways to increase supply. This lowers prices. But government always responds to rising prices by spending more and more and more of YOUR money.

We can live in a better world, if only we can teach ourselves to rely less on the inefficiencies of coercive monopoly government, and more on the efficiencies of the competitive voluntary economy.

This means we must take money out of the hands of the politicians, and put it back in the hands of the people who earned it -- YOU! Congressman Ron Paul has introduced legislation to do exactly that, but this kind of legislation will never be passed unless YOU demand it.

Send Congress a message. Ask them to pass Ron Paul's "Comprehensive Health Care Reform Act." You can send your message here.

And please ask your friends to do the same.

Please also consider that is trying to do the same thing for taxpayers that the free market is doing for health care. We can reduce the cost you pay to fight the growth of coercive monopoly government. You can help us to grow for as little as $5 a month.

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