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The Nanny State Imperative

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Anonymous

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The what of the anti-smoking campaign makes a lot more sense when you understand the how.

From Forbes Magazine :

Recently, the CVS Caremark Corporation began requiring employees to disclose personal health information (including weight, blood pressure, and body fat levels) or else pay an annual $600 fine. Workers must make this information available to the company’s employee “Wellness Program” and sign a form stating that they’re doing so voluntarily.

CVS argues this will help workers “take more responsibility for improving their health.” At one level, this makes a certain sense. Because the company is paying for their employees’ health insurance, they naturally prefer healthier workers. But at a deeper level, CVS’ action demonstrates a growing problem with our current system of employer-provided health insurance. If our bosses must pay for our health care, they will inevitably seek greater control over our lifestyles.

Although most Americans take it for granted that they receive health insurance through the workplace, this is an artifact of federal tax rules from World War II. When the U.S. government imposed wartime wage controls, employers could no longer compete for workers by offering higher salaries. Instead, they competed by offering more generous fringe benefits such as health insurance. In 1943, the IRS ruled that employees did not have to pay tax on health benefits provided by employers; in 1954, the IRS made this permanent.

The federal government thus distorted the health insurance market in favor of employer-based plans. If a company paid $100 for health insurance with pre-tax dollars, the employee enjoyed the full benefit. But if the employee received that $100 as salary, he could only purchase $50-70 of insurance after taxes. Over time, this tax disparity helped employer-based health insurance dominate the private insurance market. In 2008, over 90% of non-elderly Americans with private insurance received it through their workplace.

Hence, government policy artificially injects the employer into the relationship between a patient and the health insurance system. Normally, what a worker ate or whether he smoked at home would be of no concern to his boss (unless it affected job performance). But U.S. government policy makes it the employer’s business.

To make matters worse, ObamaCare reinforces this status quo. ObamaCare requires large employers to offer health insurance to workers (or else pay a penalty). As a result, more people are discussing how best to link employment to healthy behavior. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine recently featured a pair of high-profile editorials debating the merits of allowing companies to discriminate against smokers, “for their own good.”

Furthermore, ObamaCare pays government grants to encourage companies to implement these “wellness programs.” Hence, employers who wouldn’t otherwise concern themselves with workers’ lifestyles now have an incentive to do so in order to collect federal funds.

Note that the issue of employers controlling employee lifestyles arises because the government artificially couples employment with health insurance. In contrast, we don’t receive automobile insurance or homeowner’s insurance through our jobs. Hence, most employers don’t care about employees’ driving records or the number of smoke detectors in their houses. There are no “safe driver” workplace programs along the lines of “employee wellness programs.”

. . . it’s wrong for the government to use economic carrots and sticks to induce private employers to become enforcers of healthy behavior. This is just a subtler form of “nanny state” controls, such as NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg outlawing soft drinks he considers unhealthy. And once employers start monitoring employee behavior on the grounds of “health costs,” there’s no end to the potential meddling. Who will be the next politically disfavored group after smokers or the obese? Do we want bosses discouraging their employees from owning guns or enjoying mountain biking on the weekends? This is a dangerous road.

The nanny state is bad enough. We don’t need nanny bosses.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulhsieh/2013/04/25/big-brother-has-a-new-face-and-its-your-boss/?partner=yahootix

:face:
 

daveinlax

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I've been saying it for years, your employer and their health insurance provider are the biggest threat to your smoking pleasure. Our company is contracted to a tobacco free company, if you employed by them you sign off on the zero tolerance policy and yes, they do test and they have an aggressive random testing program. I miss my after lunch cigar but at least I can enjoy a cigar in my car during my long daily commute. :shock:
 

Richard Burley

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I have never understood why employers should be involved with employees' health insurance. It just seems weird. Should they pay for their roofs? Now I understand how it came about. Thanks.

 

Northern Neil

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If it isn't your employer who is concerned about your health, it will be your government. At least through employment you have a bit more of a choice in benifits / employeers. When the Government is in control, then the majority dominates :x
 

pepesdad1

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Thanks, Yak. Personally, I appreciate you posting these little tidbits of horror that are encroaching on our lives. Glad I'm over the hill, age wise...if I was 30, I'd be heading for the woods to live!
 

KevinM

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The CVS fat bottoms are just protecting the corporate pile of cash that might go otherwise to their bonus checks instead of their employees' medical insurance. It's just a scam perpetrated on working people under the guise of "doing good." No one is ever going to say to their employees, We've found a great way to screw you out of medical coverage that you've paid for. They won't say it, but they'll find a way to do it. The foxes and the sheep.
 

alfredo_buscatti

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Pets are "chipped" to identify them should they get lost, to be found. Surveillance cameras, insurance purity re: tobacco-I think the signs are all there for more government control. I wonder if in my lifetime we will all have to be implanted with chips so that we can be controlled all the more. "Yes, the subject is temporarily out of camera range, but we just scanned him at checkpoint A"-or something like that. Scanning at most public facilities, airports and bus terminals. Scanners on the roads and on the highways. Secret scanners installed in newly-built homes.

The government has always had two policies, one for the ordinary citizen and one for dissidents. This would seem to be expanding to everyone.

Why do almost all sci-fi films depict society in the future dismal? But all of this is the product of fantasy, for now.
 

deepbass9

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KevinM":xlu1zu6s said:
The CVS fat bottoms are just protecting the corporate pile of cash that might go otherwise to their bonus checks instead of their employees' medical insurance. It's just a scam perpetrated on working people under the guise of "doing good." No one is ever going to say to their employees, We've found a great way to screw you out of medical coverage that you've paid for. They won't say it, but they'll find a way to do it. The foxes and the sheep.

Sound words, these..
 

bosun1

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deepbass9":m7aq69b4 said:
KevinM":m7aq69b4 said:
The CVS fat bottoms are just protecting the corporate pile of cash that might go otherwise to their bonus checks instead of their employees' medical insurance. It's just a scam perpetrated on working people under the guise of "doing good." No one is ever going to say to their employees, We've found a great way to screw you out of medical coverage that you've paid for. They won't say it, but they'll find a way to do it. The foxes and the sheep.

Sound words, these..

Agree. Their profits is what concerns them. If they have enough employs willing to work part time then they will save even more money with the new medical insurance policy fast shuffling going on!
 
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