Even Walmart thinks American healthcare is too expensive

Walmart isn’t making enough money off its new health centers, so it decided to close up shop. The retail giant announced today that it’ll shutter all 51 health centers it opened up across five states since 2019. Walmart is also getting rid of its virtual care program after acquiring telehealth provider MeMD in 2021.

“We determined there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue,” Walmart said in an announcement today.

“We determined there is not a sustainable business model for us to continue.”

Retail giants like Walmart, BestBuy, and Amazon have each tried to take their own share of Americans’ $3.6 trillion in health spending each year. But while retailer heavyweights thought they could turn a profit by making healthcare more convenient and affordable, the reality has been much more complicated.

“This is a difficult decision, and like others, the challenging reimbursement environment and escalating operating costs create a lack of profitability that make the care business unsustainable for us at this time,” Walmart said today. It’s an about-face from last year when Walmart said it planned to double its number of health clinics and expand into two new states in 2024.

Walmart didn’t share specific dates for when each Walmart Health Center would close its doors but said that it would keep serving existing patients while they stay open. The company’s 4,600 pharmacies and roughly 3,000 Vision Centers won’t be affected.

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