Price competition has just taken a giant step forward in medical care. Walmart is getting into the clinic business.
This will be mass production. Most people are within a short drive of a Walmart.
Medicare people can get in. Walmart will not be taking other medical insurance except for its in-house program. This means reduced paperwork.
This will take out the bottom of the market for physicians. Now physicians will have to specialize . . . or join an HMO.
This is all the medical care most people need most of the time. They just want to be told that they are not really seriously sick. For $40, they can find out.These days, they pay high prices at a standard physician’s office. Soon, they will walk in and find out what they need to know for $40. In 80% of the cases, they will not need any additional care. If the Walmart physician sees there is a problem, he can refer the patient to a specialist.
This is bad news for local walk-in clinics. The competition just ramped up a notch. No, four notches. The biggest retailer of all is about to show up in the neighborhood.
This is great news for customers. It is good news for young physicians who are not in debt for medical school, and who want upper-middle-class income. They will be able to find employment locally.
For general practice physicians with debt, it’s a warning call: “Your career strategy just changed.” Think “rural America.”