The Business of Healthcare

Walmart and Specialty Hospitals

May 28, 2009

Why is it politically correct to support the general acute care hospital position in the argument against specialty hospitals, while at the same time supporting specialty stores in the “war” against Walmart?

Aren’t these arguments mirror images?

The PC argument is that Walmart is “bad” because it adversely impacts specialty stores, which are locally owned, provide locally tailored products and provide personal service.  The general acute care vs. specialty hospital argument is exactly backwards from the Walmart vs. specialty store argument:  Specialty hospitals provide highly tailored “products” and provide personal service, therefore they adversely affect general hospitals, which must provide a wide range of care to a wide range of patients.

Isn’t supporting the general acute care hospital argument akin to supporting Walmart in an argument that the local jewelry store should close because it doesn’t have to bear the burden of stocking yards of shelf space with commodity-priced watches?

Competition isn’t the problem in the healthcare market.  The problem is the lack of competition resulting from over-regulation.

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