Wal-Mart announced a new plan to provide 290+ generic prescription drugs at a cost of $4/month, including literally lifesaving drugs like the insulin resistance drug metformin. The New York Times berates the program for only saving money for the uninsured. You know, the 48 million or so that liberals like the New York Times editors are always proclaiming their concern for. Then they note this:
In Florida, where the program will have its debut, most people on Medicaid pay nothing and may have little incentive to shop around for cheaper prescription drugs.
This is Wal-Mart’s fault? We’re supposed to blame Wal-Mart for what conservatives and even economically literate liberals have been trying to point out for years, Medicare/Medicaid’s biggest fault, the lack of incentive for consumers to compare prices. Aside from the fact of
Medicaid/Medicare’s distortion of demand in the health care markets, that Wal-Mart can’t make the drugs cheaper for the beneficiaries of these programs who already receive them at no cost is neither surprising nor good reason to condemn the retailer. Perhaps Wal-Mart should pay Medicaid/Medicare recipients to come to Wal-Mart for their drugs? Wal-Mart has done something that John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton couldn’t – making medical care more affordable for those of us who pay cash for it instead of worsening health care inflation with more infusions of government money into the system. Certainly giving Medicaid/Medicare recipients incentive to use the cheapest provider would be a great thing, but that is up to the government, not Wal-Mart.