The market provides, even when nobody expects it to. That’s the lesson we’ve learned from Walmart, whose Texas mental health clinic is helping customers in need.
The retail giant opened a new clinic inside its Carrollton, Texas, store, giving shoppers the chance to walk in or make an appointment online to see a licensed mental health professional. The new addition is the product of a deal between Walmart and the Boston-based behavioral-health services firm Beacon Health Options. Seeing an opportunity to reach a rural community with little to no access to quality mental health care professionals, the firm and Walmart put their partnership to good use.
More than 10 million Texans live in areas that are poorly serviced by these types of clinics. Thanks to Walmart, the community of Carrollton now has a chance to get help with issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, and other problems all in the same spot where they buy their groceries.
“I think for behavioral health services, the time is due. It needs to be pulled out of the shadows. It needs to be mainstreamed,” president and CEO of Beacon Health Options Russell Petrella told reporters.
As NBC reports, depression is on the rise across the United States, impacting young adults more often than people in other age groups. The problem has become so widespread that one in every five adults experiences some form of mental illness, and yet, many people don’t seek out any professional help.
Like many large firms bringing on-site health care to their employees on their own dime, Walmart is answering a need that is obviously unmet — more than if it lobbied the government to impose more regulations on the health care industry.
The more restrictions government puts on business, the harder it becomes for smaller practices and independent doctors to provide affordable services to remote or needy communities. In the meantime, companies like Walmart are trying to step in, filling a gap that was caused by the increased barriers put in place by the government.
Competition Makes Everything More Affordable
As President Barack Obama unveiled his signature health care plan to the nation, many of its critics argued that the additional restrictions and mandates would push the cost of care up, not down.
After the bill was signed into law, the Affordable Care Act turned out to hurt patients, much as critics warned.
The problems America has with its health care system have plagued the country for many decades, having only worsened under Obama. But by suffocating the market, as the government’s interference artificially increases demand while restricting the supply, private groups and entrepreneurs started looking for ways out.
In no time, private, direct primary care clinics started popping up and religious health care shares became popular, with people fleeing the health insurance trap that made access to doctors and treatment so expensive.
Major companies began seeing the benefit of giving their employees and customers access to care on the premises, noting that employees were becoming more productive if they managed to take preventive care more seriously.
But unless the government steps out of the way completely, firms and individuals trying to enter the market to give the needy better care won’t be able to do so because of the prohibitive cost of doing business in an over-regulated market. It’s time to let freedom help solve our health care crisis once and for all.