Will George Orwell please pick up the white courtesy phone? We have a question on "wellness incentives"
The bipartisan initiative [Hold onto your wallets! -- lambert], largely eclipsed in the health-care debate, builds on a trend that is in play among some corporations and that more workers will see in the benefits packages they bring home during this fall's open enrollment. Some employers offer lower premiums to workers who complete personal health assessments; others limit coverage for smokers.
The current legislative effort would take the trend a step further. It is backed by major employer groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers. It is opposed by labor unions and organizations devoted to combating serious illnesses, such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association.
Critics say employers could use the rewards and penalties to drive some workers out of their health plans.
President Obama and members of Congress have said [and of course, we believe them -- lambert] they are trying to create a system in which no one can be denied coverage or charged higher premiums based on their health status. The insurance lobby has said it shares that goal. However, so-called wellness incentives could introduce a colossal loophole. In effect, they would permit insurers and employers to make coverage less affordable for people exhibiting risk factors for problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Or... Whatever! Pre-existing conditions are right back in the game, except now they're called "risk factors." Can anybody seriously believe that the bill won't create a whole industry devoted to finding "risk factors" and denying people care who have them? Or can plausibly be said to have had them, perhaps during rescission? Ectomorphs under the bus! Endomorphs under the bus! Black men have a higher "risk factor" for stroke? Under the bus! People who worked in chemical plants have a higher "risk factor" for cancer? Under the bus! People with blue eyes have a higher "risk factor" for uveal melanoma? Under the bus! Women have a higher "risk factor" for pregnancy? Under the bus!
It's the same old game: Collect premiums, deny care.
And thanks, Democrats -- and especially "progressives" -- for letting the insurance companies play their game!
This whole health insurance reform thing is going just great! Thank gawd we've got true progressive leaders at the helm!
NOTE See When a Nudge Becomes a Shove. It's already starting, isn't it? Of course, as soon as you see the corporations as feudal lords, and their "human resources" as fucking peasants, everything falls into place.