NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 12, 2008

As the debate over health care reform intensifies, policymakers must be careful not to ignore private sector opportunities to enhance access to health care, says Sarah McIntosh of the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy.  In-store health care clinics are a growing phenomenon and offer a private sector solution to some of the growing concerns of policymakers.

In-store health care clinics provide numerous advantages, says McIntosh.  They are:

  • Conveniently located in stores, which makes them particularly attractive for individuals who live in rural areas, areas with doctor shortages, or for virtually anyone with a busy schedule.
  • Open extended hours into the evenings, weekends, and holidays, making it easier for working families with busy schedules to obtain care.
  • Often paired with pharmacies, which makes it convenient to get prescriptions filled in one stop.

They also:

  • Offer basic acute care services as well as preventative care options.
  • Provide clear price transparency with posted lists of services and prices and often accept insurance, too.
  • Give people seeking treatment, particularly the uninsured, an alternative to emergency rooms and government-run clinics.

In-store health clinics offer an excellent opportunity for health care reform.  Policymakers should not only acknowledge their role in health care provision but also be careful not to create laws that stifle these innovations, says McIntosh.

Source: Sarah McIntosh, "Adding Health Care to Your Shopping List: The Emergence of In-Store Clinics," Flint Hills Center for Public Policy, Policy Paper, June 4, 2008.


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