Thursday, September 21, 2006

Walmart's Costs Weighed

Political divisiviness can be a good thing, as it may indicate that a healthy debate is taking place between those advocating differing visions and alternative solutions to the problems of the day. However, some people are so hardened by partisanship that they can never acknowledge any value in an idea that originated with an opponent. There are Republicans who would never say a good word about Clinton -- even when he did something they agreed with -- and there are Democrats who have the same antipathy toward Bush.

Then, there's Walmart and its adversaries.

The big box behemoth announced today that it would begin selling close to 300 generic drugs at $4 for a month's supply. Given the role that rising drug costs play in increasing rates of medical inflation, that can only be regarded as a good thing. It might be assumed that a critic of the company would not feel a need to rush out and congratulate them, but that critic might want to take a day and just not say anything. Alas, Walmart's critics can only blast the company, saying that the proposal won't insure a single one of their employees.

There is an interesting statistic in the adversary's press release: they claim that Walmart's "health care crisis" will cost American taxpayers $1.2 billion per year. Assuming for the sake of argument that the number is correct (even while recognizing that partisans will sometimes inflate figures in order to win their own argument), that would mean that Walmart's misdeeds cost me (an average taxpayer) $4.

That's the cost of one prescription. Not bad, actually.


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