Posting in Healthcare
The healthcare debate is just as relevant in corporate social responsibility circles as sustainability. So why aren't more companies talking about it in this light?
The head of corporate social responsibility for British Telecom Americas (Kevin Moss) has posted a blog on what is a rather touchy topics these days: the U.S. healthcare crisis. Yes, I'm calling it a crisis because it is.
His rather pointed question to peers in his position is the following: Why hasn't there been more commentary on healthcare reform among this community. You should definitely read his whole post here but his observation is that this debate carries all the main characteristics of typical social issues:
- The solution (or lack thereof) will have a profound impact on society at large
- It will affect a majority of employees
- It will carry major cost implications for employers
- It poses an ethical dilemma
- It could have a positive (or negative) impact on brand awareness
I have one theory about why more companies haven't been especially vocal about all that's going on and it is this: While corporate sustainability strategy at large stands to have a very beneficial impact on a company's cost structure, the same can't currently be said about healthcare. I mean, not to be too blase or jaded about it, but look at Wal-Mart. It isn't interested in the sustainability of its supply chain just because it makes the company look good. It is interested because it can become more efficient in the process.
On paper or at least when you look at the short term, healthcare is a very polarizing, expensive issue for companies both small and large with few visible, tangible benefits. But over the long term, isn't the health of employees a real issue, especially if more of your staff will be working later into their life? What's more, aren't the companies that do healthcare right more likely to attract the right employees? I honestly believe that salary and healthcare are almost on a par, now, when it comes to the things that a job candidate will consider before joining your company.
As we look at the light approaching at the end of the tunnel as far as economic growth is concerned, now might be the time to take action on your healthcare coverage strategy. Heck, if enough businesses big and small push back on the system and say 'Enough is enough," maybe that will have more of an impact than this annoying, endless debate.
Weigh in with me or with Kevin Moss, you have a moral obligation to do so.
Sep 15, 2009
Ack!! I put a couple of bold tags in for a couple of sentences, and I got nearly the whole thing in bold. Can someone get in there and fix that?? Amor
It's astonishing and frightening to hear someone so deeply indoctrinated in the Party Line calling for so much education. I guess the term "re-education" has been forgotten already. Does anyone remember the Re-Education campaigns
There are many corporations that refuse to work employees at full time. This eliminates their requirement to provide health care. And there are those who have preexisting conditions that make acquiring health insurance prohibitive. What, we should let individuals who work two or more part time jobs and or those with pre existing conditions die because they cannot get insurance whether or not they would like to have insurance. And Professor8's take sounds a lot like soviet era lock downs in Eastern Europe.
The problem with healthcare is that it is a business instead of a human right, including the right to refuse healthcare. Currently, there is a largescale program underway that has been ongoing behind the scenes since the 50's to microchip society. The antennas are larger about the size of a capsule and the brain implants take a few seconds near your amygdala. The out of control corporate "health care" industry is now more profitable than the war industry, and more effective at controlling the populations. You will be chipped and injected with brain toxin mercury flu shots whether you like it or not. Then, you have no more rights at all. You are now part of corporate social engineering, the new industry of mind and body controlled slaves, along with their falsified and subjective disorder title to justify it. You will obey or be tortured. The future is in communications networks, advertising and psychiatry as long as you are white and male. Females, children, scientists and artists are the products and advertising will pay for the neuromarketing access. Codes anyone? Ask Tenet, Moon, any large communications company, advertising agency or hacker for those. Maybe you can get a bulk rate from AT&T through Wiley Rein. We will soon be ruled by Chinese cyber warriors and we march to the abyss with a moonie smile on our faces. If you live in California, New York or Oklahoma, you have 2 weeks left of freedom before you are chipped and injected with mercury vaccines. It might be time to show your loved ones you care and smell the roses. The song is fading now It is of 5 sounds Freedom The song is fading now It is of 5 sounds Lakota Song
It almost makes one long for the zany rhetoric of the '60s. It's only because of custom established because of federal tampering with the marketplace 60 years ago that so many now assume that it's an employer or "corporate" responsibility to provide health care. Relying upon an employer for your health care effectively makes you a slave to the employer should you become chronically ill at some point during your lifetime. Leaving a job you hate becomes impossible. Millions of employees settle for wages that are lower than they otherwise might be, simply because they have become slaves to their "benefits" such as health insurance. Why does anyone think that is a good idea? If people owned their health care independently, this would not be a problem. In its current incarnation, health care "reform" will only serve to make things worse; eventually making us all dependent upon the government for our health care. I know few people who sign praises of the 50% of health care that the government already runs, such as the VA, which just got caught exposing thousands of our veterans to AIDS simply because they were either too cheap or too incompetent to clean their equipment properly. I've been purchasing my own insurance my entire adult life. Yes, it's expensive. (But it's expensive for you too; the only difference is that I actually realize what I am paying; most of you do now) But the biggest difference between myself and those who select jobs based only upon the offered health plan is that I'm not a slave to any employer. I can come and go as I please.
They run not-for-profit hospitals (Sisters of Charity or something like that?). If you can't pay, guess what? YOU DON'T. And those people aren't living on the street, either.
>goff256 "I have to ask you one simple question. Why should people's lives, and their ability to live, be something that people make a profit from" So, what should Doctor's be allowed to earn? What a ridiculous statement. Food is necessary to live. Electricity, transportation, and dozens of other products and services are necessary to allow us to live.People and corporations profit off of the production and distribution. Medicine produces a profit for the developers. Without profit you will not have these products.Unless we all become slaves of course. The real world is not like "Star Trek" where everybody just works hard or risk their lives just for the betterment of mankind.
I have to ask you one simple question. Why should people's lives, and their ability to live, be something that people make a profit from? ^_^;
Your readers are apparently clueless as to just what the real issues are and you should spell out the major issues facing us. I submit that the following will change forever how and to whom medical services are provided. 1) Within 20 years the expected lifespan will double and it has been said that within 50 years we will see a 10 fold increase. 2) DNA based individualized medical treatments. 3) In our Capitalistic World, Individual and Employer based HC Insurance will not cover the cost of treatments, they will be based upon your ability to pay (apx. 100K per treatment). An individuals Health Care is not a social right nor is it desirable from the view point of the insurers as they would prefer a short term terminal illness at minimal expense to the share holder. An individuals and /or Societies Health Care is a commodity with an explicit value assigned to it by the Health Care Industry and the Governments supporting that industry. Therefore, I suggest you consider the possibility that No One has the Individuals or Societies interest at heart and are more concerned about stock holder ratings than about Health and as to the not to distant probability that those that have the fiscal resources will be able to see a ten fold increase in lifespan compared to the minions dependant upon HC Insurance for their care ? Just imagine the new world order this will bring about?..
Dana, I believe your argument regarding doctor's ethical obligation to provide health care makes health care a "right"is flawed . Does that mean that if people stopped wanting to become doctors that we would have to force some to do so? Just because a doctor may have an ethical obligation to provide care doesn't mean you have a corresponding "right" to it.
Thanks to Heather for promoting the discussion and let me chip in with a couple of points. My blog post asked a slightly different question. I am a member of a community of Corporate Responsibility practitioners (also known as CSR and sustainability managers) working inside companies and in organizations such as SRIs, consultancies and NGOs. My post asked the question, and suggested an answer, on why our CR community in particular is not participating in the debate on healthcare. Within this context I do take issue with your statement Heather ?While corporate sustainability strategy at large stands to have a very beneficial impact on a company?s cost structure, the same can?t currently be said about healthcare?. I think that companies with operations in multiple countries are very aware of the differential healthcare costs and services. I also hear repeated references to the proportion of personal and small business bankruptcies that are due to healthcare costs and large businesses with significant cost exposure too. This alone shouldn?t predispose business towards which is the right answer, but in my view it should put the topic on the radar screen for corporate responsibility practitioners. Kevin Moss - www.csrperspective.com
Larry it couldn't be any worse than having a corporation that denies me coverage for a condition that my policy lists as covered. They deny it because treating my condition costs them more than letting me die. That is what is happening right now to regular American citizens. You can't switch carriers (ie let the free market decide) because then you have a "Pre-existing condition" that is automatically not covered at all when you switch. Oh BTW we already have "Death Panels" they are currently being run by the Corporate Health care system. Having a robust Public Option is a good first step. BTW if Government health care is so bad, Ask your Republican Senator or Representative why they use the one that comes with their job. If public heathcare was so bad, then I guess that Medicare and the VA hospital network should be shut down and Corporate Death Panels should be put in their place.
Unless you are an Licensed M.D, D.D.S, PT, etc. with a knowledge of all physiological disciplines and have a DEA license to administer your own diagnosis, tests, treatments, prescriptions and can simulaneously surgically operate on yourself while under amnesia then I have some bad news for you.... Some one other than you is going to make decisions about your health care. As the comment directly after yours indicates I think you may either be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or worse yet FOX News, or Rush Limbaugh. In any case it/they made your decision so you are no longer in control. One more healthy tip...chill out, your going to give yourself a stroke.
I don't think you kow what you're talking about. In fact, you're spouting off talkpoints from the nice Fox News programs. The Government already takes care of people after they retire. Social Security, Medicare, etc. And if you think that the government bureaucracy would be between you and your doctor... you have once again proven that you don't even BOTHER to keep up with anything,
If you like government bureaucrats controlling every aspect of your life, by all means allow the government to control healthcare. But don't expect them to want to take care of you after you retire; no longer are you an asset contributing to the tax base that pays the bureaucrat, you are a liability that drains funds from which they draw their paychecks. It will then be in their vested interest to kill you off. I prefer to stay in control of my destiny. ANYONE WHO SAYS THEY CAN BETTER DETERMINE HOW TO TAKE CARE OF ME THAN I CAN HAS COMMITTED SLANDER AGAINST ME AND WILL BE SUED FOR DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. End of discussion.
You have the beginning of a good debate here. The choice is between believing health care is a choice and health care is a right. Doctors made that choice long, long ago. Their ethical responsibility is to treat people, all people who come to them. The idea of health care as a right, thus, is centuries old. Conservatives love to think that the "health care is a right" crowd is trying to overturn some long set precedent. And it's true the gap between what doctors can do on their own and what the economy may require is large, and has always been immense. But "socialist" countries around the world bridge the gap. Some do it through a single-payer model. Others require the purchase of insurance through exchanges. And they wind up spending 50-67% of what we spend to cover 80% of our people, yet cover all of them. Facts are stubborn things. But the real radicals here are those who insist "health care is a choice," because in the end their plan is to force doctors to deny care to people who need it, to use the instrument of government to reject a centuries'-old ethic, and force the profession to close its ears to pain.
Why do we fall for this scare every time it's proposed? If we really want health reform all that's needed is to change the provider of service for all public employees to the VA. Market reform will take care of the high cost of private medical services and insurance. The brightest and most politically connected among us will ensure that any quality of care issues will be corrected and the VA will become the best health care provider in the country. This social experiment will only affect the experimenters. Maybe after a few years, we will all want to buy a $250/monthly family of 10 VA policy.
I don't know why one might argue the Feds don't have jurisdiction in the provision of medical insurance. I'll say up front that I'm Canadian and I don't understand why one who lives in one state should have access to better health care than one who lives in another state. (Up here we talk about have and have-not provinces re a particular province's wealth compared to the average). For all the things that America does to promote freedom - physical, economic, social - around the world, why make a difference if you're from a rich state or poor state. I understand, for the most part, the economic arguments for allowing the market to provide insurance services for individuals, and I understand that bigger companies may want to provide more medical benefits to attract higher quality talent to their firms. However, I would argue, and to paraphrase along the lines of Adam Smith, that public health is a common good, an externality, that should be provided by the state just like defence or monetary policy. How else can one encourage the growth of small business to become big business if they "lose" out on the best talent? Yes, some people muck up and become dregs of society and use the system for rashes and cut fingers, but for the most part knowing that for $54/month I, as a single person, can go to the doctor, get a diagnosis, see a specialist, get treatment (I still have to pay for my meds, but if serious, at least I get into the hospital), and otherwise not lose my house, is a comforting notion. thumbs up goff256 & dunn@
"let Business sort it out?" Just like they sorted out the market crash of 2008? Yeah, corporations are real responsible . One way or another all of us are going to wind up paying for others healthcare whether through higher taxes due to patients that wind up in emergency rooms that have no income or whether it is higher premiums due to "over-use" and bad investments by insurance companies. The only difference is the pain of loss of income or physical pain by those that can't afford treatment and can't wait 6 months to have a tooth pulled or a tendon repaired. My outlook is that anybody putting themselves at risk by not wearing a seatbelt, not wearing a helmet and pads while skateboarding or skating, not wearing protective attire and a helmet when riding a motorcycle....they will all cost society as a whole because of unnecessary treatment due to their irresponsible actions. Just flatten the playing field by having a single payer insurer cover everybody, healthy, sick and in between as it is the only means to a just provision of medical resources.
when it hasn't so far fixed the problem of ~50 million people being uninsured. It hasn't halted small business owners from saying that they won't be able to continue to provide insurance because the cost is rising too much. It hasn't fixed it, and just hoping it will start to? What type of idiot does that? Hell, just reading this discussion had provided me with an easy batch of ammo against your very discussions. "He compares it to the requirement that motorists purchase auto insurance. But while driving is a privilege, life and the pursuit of happiness is a right!" Since you agree that life is a right, not a privilege, I don't see any reason to debate the government helping out with this. I mean, IT'S A RIGHT, right? Where in the Constitution or Bill of Rights is the Federal Governments authority to require the purchase of a health insurance policy as a condition of having been born? Where is freedom when government has the power to tell you how to spend after tax dollars? What distinguishes disposable income from taxes? Where in the constitution does it talk about the state of marriage, gay or straight? Abortion? And that part about freedom is laughable, it really is. Tax money is money that the government uses, as soon as you pay it... it stops being your money. It's like if I buy a car. Do I have a right, now, to tell GM how to run their business? NO! The Federal Government lacks any authority to preach fiscal responsibility. It has exhibited none in my lifetime and has reduced the wealthiest nation on the planet to world?s biggest debtor nation. This is partially to blame because of the shifting tax structure and the change from an industrial to a post-industrial society. We removed tariffs, we screwed up the tax rate to a less-than-progressive tax rate. I have to laugh when people complain that Obama hates the rich because the top bracket was paying ~90% in the 1950's. Were factory jobs lost because America could not compete with manufacturers in countries where government paid for health care? Regardless, American leaders would not raise tariffs to level the playing field and signed GATT and NAFTA into law! You do realize that a lot of industry that is in Canada is there because of the fact that it's inexpensive to run a single-payer system, right? And, Professor, you're a quack. Take some meds, put the coat back on.
ACCORDING TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TOO MUCH OF AMERICA?S GDP IS SPENT ON HEALTH CARE. BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CREATED THE PROBLEM: Decades ago the government passed ?pay or play? tax incentives that encouraged employers to provide employees with health insurance. And America was hooked on health care the way junkies get hooked on smack. The dealer gave free samples until the client was hooked. When I was young America was the world?s wealthiest nation. And employer provided health insurance paid 100% of medical costs. Because it was free it was abused. Mom took children to the emergency room for a rash and to the doctor for a small cut. Demand was artificially high. Cost shifting provided for the uninsured. Patients with good insurance policies and wealthy patients with no insurance policies received inflated invoices to cover the costs of those who could not pay. Health care providers and hospitals robbed from the rich to provide health care for the poor. It is instructive that during the time when America enjoyed great wealth the Federal Government expressed no concern for the plight of the uninsured! But over time manufacturing jobs moved overseas and were replaced with lower paying service economy jobs. Consequently, employers offered health insurance with less coverage and higher deductibles and co-pays. Were factory jobs lost because America could not compete with manufacturers in countries where government paid for health care? Regardless, American leaders would not raise tariffs to level the playing field and signed GATT and NAFTA into law! And America?s leaders permitted millions of ?illegal? aliens to cross the border to do work American?s would not do. Our schools educated their children, our State governments gave them drivers licenses, our banks granted them mortgages and our hospitals provided them health care. BOGUS SOLUTION Now that America is the worlds biggest debtor nation the Federal Government has decided the plight of the uninsured is unconscionable and universal coverage is a moral imperative. But this is not about the 46 million uninsured. It is about assuring health insurance companies? market share and health care professionals expected incomes and lifestyles. The health system in America has been based on a larger and more affluent generation of young policy holders offsetting the health cost of middle aged and seniors. This formula is being upset by the WWII baby boomers generation approaching retirement and the global recession. President Obama wants every American citizen to be required to buy a health insurance policy. He compares it to the requirement that motorists purchase auto insurance. But while driving is a privilege, life and the pursuit of happiness is a right! Where in the Constitution or Bill of Rights is the Federal Governments authority to require the purchase of a health insurance policy as a condition of having been born? Where is freedom when government has the power to tell you how to spend after tax dollars? What distinguishes disposable income from taxes? As for the proposal that the IRS be charged with fining citizens who do not purchase a health insurance policy, since the federal government just prints more paper money to pay debt why is taxation or the IRS even necessary. Just shutdown the IRS and transfer its budget to indigent care! FREE MARKET IS THE SOLUTION Is providing health care an enumerated power or responsibility of the Federal Government? The Federal Government lacks any authority to preach fiscal responsibility. It has exhibited none in my lifetime and has reduced the wealthiest nation on the planet to world?s biggest debtor nation. But Ma and Pa citizen have had to balance a checkbook their entire lives. The solution is to return control of health care spending to them. Pass a law making it illegal for an employer to offer health insurance as an employee benefit. End wage stagnation and give employees raises instead. Doing away with group health insurance and forcing insurance providers to compete for individual business will permit cost conscious Ma and Pa to shop for the best deal, like they do auto insurance. Then the free market will bring costs under control!
First off the individual is best at judging what is right for them. I have a brother who eschewed health insurance as a waste of money and got deathly ill (he did recover). Were you or I to fault for him not having insurance? No. Would he like free USG supplied insurance? Yes? Do you or I want to pay for it? No. To the original issue/point of the article, corporations are waiting to see. If the USG provides health insurance it is one more thing to take out of the bottom line and equalize your costs with those of your competitors. If one company in an industry uses the USG health insurance and it's costs are lower, all the others will follow suit. It is all about the almighty dollar and not about the employees. When was the last time WalMart worried about their employees unless there was something in it for them?
... really isn't the issue. The issue is that, conceptually, insurance only works if the vast majority paying premiums do not NEED the services offered. Left to their own devices, few young, healthy, people will spend their disposable income on health insurance. By providing health insurance to ALL employees, not just those who opt-in, employers maintain that balance which makes insurance work. This isnt enough though. Insurance companies need to be regulated so they don't squander those invested premiums on risky ventures during bull markets because high risk ventures leave insurance companies with little choice but to raise premiums during bear markets. I'd provide incentives for medical schools to turn out more "general practitioners" and fewer specialists so that people could actually GET IN to see a doctor for routine illnesses before they turn into ER visits. I'd take it a step further and require all doctors to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients and to agree to provide a certian amount of pro bono care. (Say, regular clinic service.) [I'd make the same 'pro bono' requirement of lawyers.] And I would require all hospitals to provide emergency care to any human being who needs it. Bill for services but forgive non-payment. And, I would limit the liability of doctors accused of malpractice. (If they are corrupt, throw them in jail. If they are incompetitent, take away their license to practice. If they are sued, limit their liability to damages only. (After all, once a loved on is maimed or dead, money is little comfort - limit liability to real costs associated with mitigating the damages.) I would also require all parents to immunize their children before they attend public school (this used to be universally the case but apparently not any more). It's not that the "safety net" does not already exist - it is that it is full of holes and is fraught with abuse. This leads to needless costs.
Health care is a personal issue, it's none of the government's business and it's not my employer's business. The solution to the current crisis is to free the health care and insurance market from government control. The free market solves problems all the time, continually providing a wide range of ever-evolving products, of increasing value, at affordable prices for people of all levels of income. The government for the last 50 years has intervened in the market and dictated what can and can't be sold and at what prices. To rescue our health care, get the government out of health care, respect the rights of businessmen and consumers to contract freely, so the market can operate. For details see the resources below, some of the best articles written on the subject of health care. How Freedom Protects Insurability http://theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2009-fall/freedom-to-contract-protects-insurability.asp Mandatory Health Insurance: Wrong for Massachusetts, Wrong for America http://theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2008-fall/mandatory-health-insurance.asp Moral Health Care vs. ?Universal Health Care? http://theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-winter/moral-vs-universal-health-care.asp
The main crisis in health care in the USA is unconstitutional government intrusion, the attendant loss of privacy and liberty. Problem: Too much reliance on insurance instead of savings, which has deceived people into trying to buy more health care than they can afford. solutions: This is mostly a cultural problem. It can be addressed by a combination of education, tax-sheltered savings, and encouragement of mutual aid societies by elimination of government barriers to them. Problem: Too many illegal aliens and too many legal immigrants over the last 120 years, accompanied by too much over-population and over-crowding and too little assimilation. solutions: Build and maintain fences along 5,100 miles of border with Canada and Mexico. Put armed federal troops along the borders to patrol and maintain the fences, close down tunnels, stop unauthorized fly-overs, capture illegal aliens, capture or kill invaders, etc. End visa waiver programs. Conduct a proper background investigation on every visa applicant and charge applicants and sponsors for the reasonable costs (of course, charities are free to donate to visa applicants and sponsors). Eliminate [bleep] gimmick, reduce family reunification priority. Put a hard cap on every visa program (eliminate the many loop-holes and exemptions). Require H-1B and L applicants to demonstrate an IQ of at least 160, aggregate ACT score of 34+, aggregate SAT score 1560+ or "new" aggregate SAT score 2100+, or aggregate GRE above 1615. Up the investment visa requirement to at least $200K and 4 US citizens employed within 6 months. Problem: The AMA has had too much of a lock on the profession and erected artificial and excessive barriers to entry. solutions: Simply take them out of the loop on decisions of med school capacities, building and accreditation of new med schools, etc. Problem: Failure to remove bad doctors in a timely manner. solution: This is a bit trickier. We need to be able to tell an honest mistake from incompetence or evil-doing. Reduce the AMA's influence. Educate the public more, and hence juries. Problem: Outrageous malpractice awards (from juries miffed at #5, but also due to jury shopping and judicial corruption). solution: Educate the public, and hence juries. The reduction of reliance on government and insurance will improve the public's demand, supply, cost, price savvy, and so will making the books of corporate hospitals more public. Problem: High infant mortality (for a multitude of reasons from ignorance of certain details of nutrition and child-care to drugs to casual/promiscuous sex to under- valuing of babies due to over-population in part and the cultural support for/ acceptance of abortion). solutions: Education. Improved economy. Less immigration. Problem: The sizable socio-economic sump (and also drags down average academic performance). solutions: Education. Less immigration. Improved economy. This was actually improving somewhat before Medicare and Medicaid hit. Problem: Every regulatory agency becomes captive of those it was originally intended to regulate, who turn it to their own purposes, including blocking new/ potential competitors. solutions: Health care and insurance are not amongst the federal government's enumerated delegated powers. Push this back down to the state level, for them to defend against initiated force and fraud (fraudulent claims, and fraudulent insurance i.e. failure to pay valid claims). Encourage interstate commerce in insurance of all kinds by disallowing corporations from walling off each state's profits and losses (which currently allows them to selectively open up the spigot from states where there are profits and closing them to states in which that subsidiary has a temporary loss). Open the insurance corporations' books to more public scrutiny by requiring that their accounts for the last decade be posted on the web. Problem: Violation of privacy by federal government and protection rackets. solutions: Ban all federal government access to medical records other than massive, statewide aggregate statistics and epidemics. Ban out-sourcing and off- shoring of medical/health records. Restore the Hippocratic oath/affirmation. Problem: Too much unconstitutional interference by the feral federal government. solutions: Eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, the Socialist Insecurity Abomination, federal laws requiring treatment of every one who comes to a hospital funded by unconstitutional federal loans, and eliminate the federal loans.