Will Walmart Be Your New Doctor?

Millions of Americans don’t have health insurance, and many of them are Walmart shoppers. Heck, many of them are Walmart employees. The solution? Walmart is opening 400 more “health clinics” in the next 2-3 years. Eventually, there will be over 2,000 of these clinics.

The intention of the clinic is to keep people out of the emergency room and inside the Walmart, according to the Daily Herald.

Ledlie [ senior director of Wal-Mart’s health business development] said its in-store clinic operators found that more than half of the customers who used the clinics said they had no health insurance, and nearly 15 percent said they would have gone to an emergency room if the clinic was not there.

“That was the hypothesis, but to see that proven out in the data really, to us, felt like this was the right time to go forward in a bigger way,” Ledlie said.

Hastings said keeping customers out of emergency rooms makes sense for Wal-Mart, whose lower-income shoppers are being squeezed by high gasoline prices and a slowing housing market.

An unexpected emergency room trip could drain a shopper of dollars they would otherwise spend at Wal-Mart, he said.

Ledlie said the clinics fit the idea of “one-stop shopping” — a customer who has been treated for a sore throat can then fill a prescription at a Wal-Mart pharmacy and buy everything from chicken soup to cough drops before leaving.

That’s oddly horrifying. —MEGHANN MARCO

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