Al Lewis and Vik Khanna wrote an article for the WSH – Here Comes Obamacare’s ‘Workplace Wellness’ – June 20, 2013 full article here.
The article begins, “During the congressional debate over ObamaCare, few provisions stirred less controversy than an amendment providing incentives for companies to encourage their workers to stay healthy.” The reason there was so little controversy is that it’s not just about Obamacare. It’s a reflection of an established trendm where employers and insurance companies get to play Big Brother and nanny all at once.
As the article points out, these wellness programs don’t work. As the article says, “are ineffective at reducing costs, lack support in medical literature, are unpopular enough to require incentives, and are occasionally even harmful to employees.”
It’s not Obamacare. It’s insurance mythology. When I was am ember of an HMO program with Keystone (a division of the Blues), I kept getting messages about preventive care. “Talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram,” they said. They even told outright lies: Low bone density is “easily treated,” they said. The truth? Mediication reduces the risk of fracture by 3% with tons of horrific side effects.
These tests even har employees. Nebraska sent dozens of employees falsely diagnosed with cancer ” on a painful, emotionally draining, potentially dangerous quest to address what in most cases was a phantom illness—mostly at Nebraska taxpayers’ expense.”
THese employees no doubt incurred copays and other expenses that weren’t reimbursed.
So why do these programs magically claim a savings? My hunch is that they’re getting paid by insurance companies, who may be getting reimbursed by Big Pharma in some way. If more people get diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they’ll be on drugs … even if some doctors have questioned these statistics.
When people are forced to undergo unscientific procedures to avoid paying more, it’s no different than fining people who have a different religion. It’s not clear why doctors aren’t speaking up.
Meanwhile people who really need care have trouble getting help because everybody’s spending all this money on “wellness.” Here in Philly, primary care doctors spend a full hour on medical “exams,” but are booked up months in advance. If you get sick you go to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic where you see strangers.