Boston mayor rises up to kill off a sensible free market health care idea

This is the kind of demagogic idiocy we could expect from a John Edwards presidency. You can’t let the free market do anything creative and you can’t talk with corporations. You have to bludgeon them while you frack up the entire health care system.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino embarked on a highly public campaign yesterday to block CVS Corp. and other retailers from opening medical clinics inside their stores, an effort that exposed a rift between Menino and the state’s public health commissioner, a longtime ally.
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Menino blasted state regulators for paving the way Wednesday for the in-store clinics, which are designed to provide treatment for sore throats, poison ivy, and other minor illnesses.

The decision by the state Public Health Council, “jeopardizes patient safety,” Menino said in a written statement. “Limited service medical clinics run by merchants in for-profit corporations will seriously compromise quality of care and hygiene. Allowing retailers to make money off of sick people is wrong.”

Does Mayor Menino not realize that most private medical practices are for-profit operations?

CVS’ Minute Clinic looks to me like a reasonable approach to low-level health care, and it doesn’t cost anyone who doesn’t want to use the service a dime. CVS will have to staff the clinics with trained medical personnel, or they’ll find themselves staring down the barrel of corporation-killing lawsuits before they can blink.

The risk here is entirely borne by CVS and through competitive forces it might even help drive health care prices down. What’s Menino’s problem?

Oh, right. He’s a liberal big-government statist Democrat. Say no more.

Update: Bostonian Dean Barnett emails to say that he isn’t impressed with Menino’s plan.

Mayor Tom “Mumbles” Menino exhibits a childlike simplicity that his supporters adore. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he doesn’t realize that most players in the health care game are in it for the money. Boston has many non-profit, high-profile medical centers that dominate the city’s health scene. The little colonoscopy shops on the highway where the doctors make a fortune don’t even register in the public mind.

The CVS idea is brilliant and would help thousands of people, but it lacks the Greek Ideal purity of Mass. General, Chidren’s Hopsital or Beth Israel, three non-profit institutions that make Boston the healthcare capitol of the world (in our own parochial view). This is too much for a simpleton like Menino to stand.

So “little colonoscopy shops on the highway” are fine but CVS’ Minute Clinics are some kind of offense against humanity? Geez, where did this country dig up such “leadership.”

And no, I don’t want to dwell on those little colonoscopy shops.