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Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits
The New York Times ^ | May 9, 2009 | Robert Pear

Posted on 05/09/2009 6:51:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

In its effort to overhaul health care, Congress is planning to give employers sweeping new authority to reward employees for healthy behavior, including better diet, more exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation.

A web of federal rules limits what employers and insurers can do now.

Congress is seriously considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria. In addition, lawmakers said they would make it easier for employers to use financial rewards or penalties to promote healthy behavior among employees.

Two Democratic senators working on comprehensive health legislation, Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Finance Committee, and Tom Harkin of Iowa, have taken the lead in devising such incentives.

“Prevention and wellness should be a centerpiece of health care reform,” said Mr. Harkin, who regularly climbs the stairs to his seventh-floor office on Capitol Hill.

The White House agrees. One of President Obama’s eight principles for health legislation is that it must “invest in prevention and wellness,” a goal espoused in almost identical words by Republican senators like John Cornyn of Texas and Orrin G. Hatch of Utah.

Frank B. McArdle, a health policy expert at Hewitt Associates, a benefits consulting firm, said, “Wellness and prevention programs have become a mainstream part of the benefits offered by large employers, and it’s virtually certain that Congress will include incentives for such programs” in its bill. The goals of such programs are to help people control blood pressure, fight obesity and manage diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Under Mr. Harkin’s proposal, employers could obtain tax credits for programs that offer periodic screenings for health problems and counseling to help employees adopt healthier lifestyles. Programs could focus on tobacco use, obesity, physical fitness, nutrition and depression, he said.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 111th; agenda; communism; congress; democrats; fascism; foodpolice; medicine; nannystate; obama; obesity; smokenazis; socializedmedicine; tomharkin

1 posted on 05/09/2009 6:51:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

... because the social engineering and micromanagement possibilities afforded by the Tax Code aren’t quite enough.


2 posted on 05/09/2009 6:53:17 PM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: coloradan

This was the goal of “national health care” all along -

control over people’s lives.

They’re going to control your energy usage and your access to healthcare. They’ll go for your access to gainful employment as well.

Play along and be a good serf, and you’ll be allowed to work, eat, heat your home to a nice comfortable 47 degrees in the winter, and get medical checkups.

Resist, and you’ll not be able to obtain what you need to live.


3 posted on 05/09/2009 6:55:46 PM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, Bowman later)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Do you suppose there will be rewards for employers that discourage homosexual behavior?


4 posted on 05/09/2009 6:58:39 PM PDT by rascal
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To: rascal
DING...DING....DING....we have a winner!!!!

Do you suppose there will be rewards for employers that discourage homosexual behavior?

5 posted on 05/09/2009 6:59:42 PM PDT by goodnesswins (WE have a REPUBLIC.....IF we can KEEP IT!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Isn’t extreme socialism pretty??? Well libs, you voted for it, now you can live with it too.


6 posted on 05/09/2009 7:00:08 PM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Preventive medicine and healthy habits have been the watchword for decades. The idea that new prevention measures will substantially decrease health care spending is laughable. These incentives (or more likely mandates) will probably increase health care costs in the short run. Employers have little control over the health habits of their employees. Many employees with poor health habits have long established conditions.


7 posted on 05/09/2009 7:02:39 PM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

How long will it be before the Obama administration is cutting rules that subsidize - or penalize - Americans who think in certain ways, or don’t, as the government directs?

When the governent begins coercing lifestyles, the Mind Police can’t be far behind.


8 posted on 05/09/2009 7:02:46 PM PDT by Jack Hammer (here)
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To: EagleUSA

I think they could start with congress, and clean out some of the heavy weights there.. Ted Kennedy comes to mind. Nader, I bet almost a half of them are over weight..and Obama smokes, how many are druggies, another Kennedy comes to mind...then move on to heavy drinkers in congress..


9 posted on 05/09/2009 7:05:17 PM PDT by JoanneSD (illegals represented without taxation.. Americans taxed without representation)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
You first, O...


10 posted on 05/09/2009 7:06:51 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (Obama promised a gold mine, but he will give us the shaft.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

On a positive note, my job allows me 3 hours a week of paid time off to work out at the gym. This is not 3 hours a week to leave early, screw around .... but 3x a week our group goes to the gym and run, lift weights and condition.

IMHO, 3 hrs a week is about perfect. It’s enough time to get a little bit of toning, lose weight and incentive to work more on our own to get in better shape.

If just 1 heart attack is eliminated; think of the cost savings. On the side, people find that working out with co-workers improves morale, decreases stress, and makes the job a ‘fun’ environment.

I wish that more companies would initiate similar programs. 3 hrs a week of lost productivity is easily offset by workers who return to their desk re-invigorated, healthy and happy.


11 posted on 05/09/2009 7:08:15 PM PDT by Hodar (Who needs laws .... when this "feels" so right?)
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To: Jack Hammer

Oh yes, I imagine there could be many “unhealthy thoughts” and “unhealthy attitudes.”


12 posted on 05/09/2009 7:13:55 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: Marie2

It would be a simple matter for a president with a compliant Secretary of Health to declare all conservative thought “antisocial” and therefore subject to regulation, fines, and even incarceration

We’re moving very quickly deep into hardcore fascist territory, and the American people are too preoccupied with their bread and circuses to pay any attention.


13 posted on 05/09/2009 7:20:39 PM PDT by Jack Hammer (here)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Congress is seriously considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria.

The federal government has escaped its constraints and is out of control.

14 posted on 05/09/2009 7:44:04 PM PDT by sionnsar ((Iran Azadi | 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | "Also sprach Telethustra" - NonValueAdded)
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To: Hodar

And, YOUR COMPANY did it all on their own....without mandates from the government!!!


15 posted on 05/09/2009 7:45:42 PM PDT by goodnesswins (WE have a REPUBLIC.....IF we can KEEP IT!!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The Master of the Manor is worried that his serfs will start costing the Estate too much.

We have allowed government to intrude on our lives so much that now how much medical care we each require is a State
matter.

Wake up serfs!


16 posted on 05/09/2009 7:46:01 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: Hodar

And if people dont want to?

well..they get to pay a penalty....

Dont want to pay up?

No health care for you...


17 posted on 05/09/2009 7:47:56 PM PDT by Crim
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

just exactly how are you supposed to prove that your eating better and exercising??? take a video of your family eating broccoli and doing 8 minute abe workout?


18 posted on 05/09/2009 7:47:56 PM PDT by annelizly
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To: annelizly

Daily piss tests and fecal samples....


19 posted on 05/09/2009 7:48:49 PM PDT by Crim
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To: sionnsar; Jack Hammer
The federal government has escaped its constraints and is out of control.

But don't expect any of the FReeper sunshine patriots to lift a finger over this.

We're moving very quickly deep into hardcore fascist territory, and the American people are too preoccupied with their bread and circuses to pay any attention.

As they long have been. Far too many did far too little for far too long, and now they get to reap the rewards of their laziness. (And guess what? All those soon-t-be-illegal bullets won't be worth a thing unless you're really ready to use them -- and you sunshine patriots aren't. Take your noisy yap somewhere else.)

America -- a great idea, didn't last.

20 posted on 05/09/2009 7:49:39 PM PDT by Clint Williams (Read Roto-Reuters -- we're the spinmeisters | America -- a great idea, didn't last.)
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To: businessprofessor

Will those of us who have been leading healthy lifestyles be getting retroactive rewards or do we have to let ourselves go then reap the ‘rewards’ after we’re declared fit? How many times can we recycle fat to rewards? Show me da money cuz I be fit....for now.


21 posted on 05/09/2009 7:49:43 PM PDT by yadent
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

So with all this counseling, screening, etc., will my employees have any time in the day to actually work?


22 posted on 05/09/2009 7:50:51 PM PDT by keepitreal (Obama brings change: an international crisis (terrorism) within 6 months)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“In its effort to overhaul health care, Congress is planning to give employers sweeping new authority to reward employees for healthy behavior, including better diet, more exercise, weight loss and smoking cessation.’

Sounds like the food police are on their way, to me. I have been warning about this since smoking bans were accepted by the public. A really bad diet can kill you quicker than smoking. So, by the same logic, they can say that it is a public health issue, and that justifies it.

I wonder if there will be additional “tax credits” doled out to humongous welfare recipients that are to be used for fitness programs, or to be able to afford better foods? We hear frequent complaints about how all the horrible fast food outlets are in poor areas. There will be no end to redistribution schemes.

It wouldn’t seem right for rich corporations to be able to help their employees, but those who are economically disadvantaged to not get the help they need.


23 posted on 05/09/2009 7:53:08 PM PDT by mtrott
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To: Jack Hammer

Yes, they can just say we are mentally ill.


24 posted on 05/09/2009 8:00:41 PM PDT by Marie2 (The second mouse gets the cheese.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

A study just came out showing that the ECONOMIC effects of “preventive care” are negligible. But once government is paying for health care, the claimed economic benefits of preventive care will be astronomical.

The only thing that gives me any hope for my country is all the guns my fellow citizens have.


25 posted on 05/09/2009 8:02:42 PM PDT by Arthur McGowan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

In theory the concept of wellness programs sounds like it would work.

But, in spite of the hurdles, many private plans and some government plans have been offering various wellness incentives for years.

I don’t think there is a definitive study that provides any evidence that they work as well as theory suggests.

Maybe the “unhealthy” are, in the main, already so, and maybe a majority of participate in a “wellness” incentive are NOT so unhealthy that the wellness incentive makes a difference.

Besides, 2/3 of America’s health bill comes from those age 65 and over and their major problems are related to aging and/or a lifetime of unhealthy behaviors that have left conditions that cannot be easily reversed in the remaining years.

I think the only “wellness” programs that can ever work (create substantial cost savings) are those that begin in childhood and then only when they create a life-time of healthy behavior.


26 posted on 05/09/2009 8:04:44 PM PDT by Wuli
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To: Eric Blair 2084
Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that the government is looking out for us?

I'll be back after I get another beer, some greasy, salty snacks to munch on and have a cigarette.

A web of federal rules limits what employers and insurers can do now.

Congress is seriously considering proposals to provide tax credits or other subsidies to employers who offer wellness programs that meet federal criteria.

In addition, lawmakers said they would make it easier for employers to use financial rewards or penalties to promote healthy behavior among employees.

27 posted on 05/09/2009 8:06:06 PM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Many employers would like to offer larger incentives, and many in Congress want to let them do so.(emphasis supplied)

Many employers would like to offer smaller or no incentives, and many in Congress want to compel them to offer larger incentives.

Many employees would like to exercise regularly, and many in Congress want to let them do so.

Many employees don't want to exercise of all, and many in Congress want to compel them to do so.

Many employees would like catchup with their fries, and many in Congress want to let them do so.

Many employees want no catchup with their fries, and many in Congress want to compel them to eat ketchup.


28 posted on 05/09/2009 8:06:21 PM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: Arthur McGowan
The only thing that gives me any hope for my country is all the guns my fellow citizens have.

They so regularly cave on everything else, ever-ready to sell out rights they don't think they have a personal interest in, why should this give you any hope?

America was a great idea, but it didn't last.

29 posted on 05/09/2009 8:08:17 PM PDT by Clint Williams (Read Roto-Reuters -- we're the spinmeisters | America -- a great idea, didn't last.)
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To: rascal
“Do you suppose there will be rewards for employers that discourage homosexual behavior?”

Exactly! Start with “Aids Awareness Day”: = Homo-ism increases Aids and shortens your lifespan ~ 20 years!

30 posted on 05/09/2009 8:09:12 PM PDT by TRY ONE (NUKE the unborn gay whales!)
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To: MrB
Resist, and you’ll not be able to obtain what you need to live.

Without the mark of the beast.

31 posted on 05/09/2009 8:09:53 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Selah)
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To: businessprofessor
Preventive medicine and healthy habits have been the watchword for decades. The idea that new prevention measures will substantially decrease health care spending is laughable.

This would be a "keep your tires inflated" program for health care.

32 posted on 05/09/2009 8:12:24 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: Wuli
I think the only “wellness” programs that can ever work (create substantial cost savings) are those that begin in childhood and then only when they create a life-time of healthy behavior.

Don't give them any ideas!

33 posted on 05/09/2009 8:14:17 PM PDT by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Ignorance on Parade)
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To: TRY ONE
Congress Plans Incentives for Healthy Habits

This was the con-job of HMOs: they were to be health maintenance organizations. They were to promote healthiness as a way of preventing the more expensive illnesses. It was all a load of crap. Through all the decades of supposedly unhealthy lifestyles that included smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, eating high fat/high cholesterol diets, those people throughout the 20th century have lived on average far, far longer than anyone else. What we really need for Congress is some incentives to stay the hell out of our lives. I think the Second Amendment was meant to accomplish that, at least according to the founding fathers.
34 posted on 05/09/2009 8:15:07 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

F that sheet, I got ZerObots that are going to pay for my health care. I am going to couch down with a cigar and beer.


35 posted on 05/09/2009 8:22:43 PM PDT by depressed in 06 (If you are in a concentration camp and nobody know you are there, are you really there?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Rush is going to have a COW.

Cheers!

36 posted on 05/09/2009 8:51:20 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Hodar
Are any of your co-workers attractive members of the extreme opposite gender who look good in spandex?

Cheers!

37 posted on 05/09/2009 8:52:51 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The party of Jerrold Nadler, Barney Frank, Ted Kennedy & Barack Obama is going to tell us about living healthy.


38 posted on 05/09/2009 8:54:28 PM PDT by prismsinc (A.K.A. "The Terminator"!)
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To: Jack Hammer

“It would be a simple matter for a president with a compliant Secretary of Health to declare all conservative thought “antisocial” and therefore subject to regulation, fines, and even incarceration

We’re moving very quickly deep into hardcore fascist territory, and the American people are too preoccupied with their bread and circuses to pay any attention.”

Orwell wasn’t too far off with his date, was he? Only about 25 years! Read “1984” before it disappears down the “memory hole”!;)


39 posted on 05/09/2009 8:56:48 PM PDT by Frank_2001
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To: Jack Hammer
You don't know the half of it. Have you read Liberal Fascism? They BELIEVE we are all insane, we don't FEEEL their pain. It's one of the reasons they can totally ignore anything we say.
40 posted on 05/09/2009 11:44:26 PM PDT by FrogMom (No such thing as an honest democrat!)
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To: FrogMom

I am reading this book now. Half of what I am reading about are things that I never realized had happened in this country, especially during the Wilson and FDR years.


41 posted on 05/10/2009 7:43:46 AM PDT by 3catsanadog (I plan to give the new President the same respect and dignity the other side gave Bush.)
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To: 3catsanadog

Me, as well! The later stuff is astonishing, too. As “aware” as I am, I’m ignorant! A lesson of age, I suspect.


42 posted on 05/10/2009 11:08:00 AM PDT by FrogMom (No such thing as an honest democrat!)
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