On December 14, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article about employer-based health and wellness programs.
The article didn’t spark any outrage. But the letters in response? Here’s an excerpt from one published today:
But the 400-pound gorilla in the room has evolved into a 400-pound coworker, and those are hard to ignore. Rather than being an invasion of civil liberties, these programs try to make the unduly burdensome costs of health care more fair for both the public and the companies that employ them.
And here’s one from Tuesday:
When the people complaining about this injustice wind up in an intensive care unit or hospice as a result of their own lifestyle choices, they are pirating resources from workers who take better care of themselves but wind up in these places anyhow.
There haven’t been any responses from the other side. So I wrote one, and sent it in today:
I thought I could hold my tongue regarding Maura Lerner’s December 14 story about employers punishing employees for “bad” health behavior. But I’ve been dismayed by the tone of the letters you’ve published in support of these programs.
Yesterday, Sam Boeser wrote: “… these programs try to make the unduly burdensome cost of health care more fair for both the public and the companies that employ them.”
If fairness (rather than an attempt to eliminate behavior society sees as deviant) were truly the issue, I would expect to see rewards for folks who go to church, own pets, and are married – all variables that lead to longer, healthier lives – and punishments for folks who increase their health risks by, say, working the night shift, drinking coffee or commuting by car.
Here’s hoping they publish it!