Thursday, October 29, 2009

That's Capitalism, Baby

Some woman on the news tease was complaining that different pharmacies sell drugs at - gasp! - different prices. "If something is worth one price that ought to be the price everywhere, shouldn't it?" she asked querulously.

Hey. That's the market, baby. You charge what people will pay. Another woman said that "If you only shop at one store you're not going to save any money, 'cause it all averages out, you know."

And that, of course, is the way it works. Loss leaders: charge less for one prescription medicine that lots of people buy, and then ratchet up the rest. Everybody chooses a different med, and they get a whole lot of people in buying everything. ... Of course, you have to factor in gas and time, but with enough meds, you'll almost certainly come out ahead drug-store shopping.

But this naive idea that there should be one price for prescriptions across all the pharmacies? C'mon, are you outraged when your Chex are cheaper at one store, and your oranges at another?

Or do you secretly think that health care is somehow different?

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