Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ask Your Boss For Free Drugs

Milt Freudenheim reports in the New York Times that some employers are finding it more cost effective to give their employees free drugs. His article, illustrates how much attitudes within the business community are changing regarding the rising cost of healthcare. As Freudenheim reports,

“For years, employers have been pushing their workers to pay more for health care raising premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses in an effort to save money for the company and force workers to seek only the most necessary care.

Now some employers are reversing course, convinced that their pennywise approach does not always reduce long-term costs. In the most radical of various moves, a number of employers are now giving away drugs to help workers manage chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and depression.

Major employers like Marriott International, Pitney Bowes, the carpet maker Mohawk Industries and Maine’s state government have introduced free drug programs to avoid paying for more expensive treatments down the road. Companies now recognize that ‘if you get people’s obesity down, cholesterol down asthma down, you save a lot of money,’ said Uwe E. Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton University.“

Click here to read the article in its entirety. As the article is still fresh, a subscription may not be required.

Ultimately, the rising cost of healthcare can be attributed to corporatist blowback. Corporate interests have schemed with their enablers in Washington to shift as much burden of risk upon employees and individuals as possible. Terms such as the “free market,” “competition” and “medical savings accounts” were devised as pre-texts to sell the public on putting their collective head in a noose.

Well, it turns out that noose is also draped around the necks of both major corporations and small business. Hopefully, enlightened self-interest among the business community as well as politicians desire to remain in power, will finally result in universal healthcare. Remember Harry and Louise from those 1994 commercials against the Clinton healthcare plan? Well, they're getting older and the rising cost of medicine is cutting into their savings.

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