October 20, 2006

Wal-Mart’s Generic Response

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:15 am

The company is accelerating its $4 generic prescription program announced not too long ago to 13 states.

Target announced that it would match the program in the 11 of those 13 states involved where it has stores.

The expansion states include Indiana and Illinois, but not Ohio. Please tell me that this was just bad luck, and not that there’s something screwy about Ohio’s Medicaid system, or other aspect of its healthcare setup, that prevents Wal-Mart from easily moving into the Buckeye State with their plan.

I’m still waiting for the ritual denouncers of Wal-Mart (jealous competitors who are definitely whining don’t count) to congratulate the company, which may be doing more to combat the high cost of prescription drugs than all the government programs supposedly designed to accomplish that feat combined.

The reaction, predictably, is the opposite. The naysayers won’t even say that the program is a good thing:

Union-backed WakeUpWalMart.com said Wal-Mart was just trying to deflect attention from criticism that it provides skimpy health care plans for its more than 1.3 million U.S. employees.

“Wal-Mart must address its own health care crisis, because the fact is all the low priced drugs in the world won’t help the 775,000 Wal-Mart workers and families that are left cruelly uninsured,” WakeUpWalMart spokesman Chris Kofinis said.

There’s some progress; at least there’s a press acknowledgment of who’s behind WakeUpWalMart (WUWM). The “775,000 cruelly uninsured” complaint is almost certainly a flat-out lie, because it assumes that everyone not insured by the company is not insured anywhere else. For starters, anyone over 65 working there (you’ve noticed a few of those, I assume) is covered by Medicare. Then there are those who are covered by their spouse’s or parents’ plans. Please, WUWM; cut the bullcrap.

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1 Comment

  1. Does it matter if the workers are uninsured, if they can afford to pay for their own medical care out-of-pocket without going bankrupt?

    But you have a great point about the mischaracterization of “uninsured”. But even more so, people assume that everyone out there is just dying for health insurance (and sometimes they mean that literally.) That’s not exactly the case.

    I read a report from the American Academy of Actuaries (hmm, I really should become a member. I guess I’ll do that next year) about the composition of those who really are uninsured. Quite a bit of the uninsured include those who just don’t feel like obtaining coverage, though they could afford it; and there are quite a few who are eligible for government-sponsored coverage but just haven’t gotten around to signing up. Because why go through the bother until you actually need it (as government coverage isn’t like regular insurance, which has exclusion periods to prevent this sort of behavior).

    Comment by meep — October 21, 2006 @ 5:40 am

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