Healthy Help Wanted

“So you feel you’re the most qualified candidate for this position?”

“Absolutely. As you see by my resume, I graduated with honors from MIT.”

“Impressive. But tell me. How often do you go to the gym?”

“The gym?”

“Yeah, workout, pump iron, run on the treadmill.”

“Not as much as I’d like. But in my previous position, I won several awards for innovating processes that saved my employer millions.”

“Wonderful, but let me ask: if someone set a Twinkie on a plate next to a low-fat Snackum, which would you choose?”

“The Twinkie. Let me also state that I was in charge of a project that improved my department’s revenues by nearly 28 percent.”

“Remarkable. Do you drink one to two glasses of alcohol a day or more than six at one sitting?”

“I enjoy a few beers now and then. But what you really should know is that I recently graduated in the top 10 percent of my MBA class at the Wharton School of Business.”

“Wonderful, but what I really want to know is this: what do you normally have for breakfast?”

“Eggs, I suppose. At Wharton, my master’s thesis examined technological processes that could improve your company’s production efficiencies by 20 percent or more.”

“When you eat breakfast, do you prefer trans-fatty margarine on your toast or butter?”

“Margarine. I don’t mean to boast, but a former employer praised me as project manager of the year.”

“Excellent. Any diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol in your family history? According to your blood tests, you are prone to develop all of these things.”

“Blood tests? You mean from the physical you made me take? Look, sir, I am widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities in my field! I have impeccable credentials. Why don’t you ask me about that?”

“Don’t you read the papers? The Wall Street Journal says that employer health-care costs are poised to rise 10 percent — that’s according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey. Because of cost-shifting, companies that pay for private insurance are covering the cost of both the uninsured and the government insured.”

“The government insured?”

“Medicare and Medicaid restrict fees. They also require extensive paperwork, which drives up costs. To provide care to Medicare and Medicaid patients, doctors and hospitals simply charge those who can pay — those with private insurance — more.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Then know this: nearly 20 percent of every dollar spent by private insurers will cover the uninsured, Medicare and Medicaid. Our health care system is costly BECAUSE of excessive government intervention. And because health-care consumers aren’t spending their own money, they don’t care what things cost.”

“We don’t?”

“According to the National Coalition on Health Care, America spent $2.3 trillion on care in 2007 — a whopping 16 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP). Surely some clear-headed reforms could simplify our system, reduce costs AND still cover the uninsured.”

“It can?”

“But as an employer who buys private health insurance for my employees, I can’t control much of that. But I can reduce my premiums by controlling what my employees eat, drink and do.”

“You can do that?”

“According to the San Francisco Chronicle, one employer not only required his employees to stop smoking, he demanded it of their spouses, too. He enforced his ban through random testing. Employees caught smoking get canned.”

“But what does all of this have to do with me?”

“As your employer, I have every legal right to ask you to authorize access to your medical records. You will eat a healthful diet and forsake any bad habits that will add to our premiums.”

“Well, sir, are you offering me this job or not?”

“That depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“If you had to choose between an unsalted wheat cracker and a Doritos chip, which would it be?”

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  • Lucky Mom of 7

    Argh. So true. I live in a relatively poor area. We are among the very few in our pediatrician’s practice who have private health insurance. Everyone else is on Medicaid. The pediatrician has a protocol that if anybody comes in with a runny nose and sore throat, they automatically get swabbed for flu and strep. I currently owe $400 for last flu season for this little tests. That’s my portion after insurance. When I took the bills to the new pediatrician in the practice and showed him, he was astonished. His reply? “Well everybody else is on Medicaid and they pay for everything.”

  • tednkate

    The comments I made at would work for this article as well.

    I’ll add another. I know someone who is quite well off who is on medicare (due the the fact s/he is elderly…ALL elderly no matter how many assets and wealth they have have access to medicare.) Said person admitted they were happy to be on medicare as it saved their considerable bank account money.

  • nezatda

    What a crock! What are the rights of the employee? Can he or she demand to be paid in a direct proportion to the salaries and benefits of their company’s CEO’s, and COO’s, etc. Also, I find it amazing how so many employees fall for this bull.

  • rickettsfamily

    Hey, don’t knock men and women who have worked hard and who are making a profit – CEOs have in most cases earned the right to make a profit – they shouldn’t abuse that right, but they are entitled — thats capitalism. This insurance BS drives me crazy though – its hard to enough to pay for OUR OWN healthcare, let alone other peoples. The Government complicates the free market!

  • mkochan

    Yes, they have earned the “right” to make a profit — using, of course, the gifts that God has given them for the benefit of others as well as themselves. I don’t know what the best solution is given our fallen state/world but there just has to be something immoral about a CEO getting compensation into the 10s of millions while some employees of the same corporation cannot support their families on their wages. I’d love to see a system where CEO compensation was some multiple of the lowest wage paid in the company.

    On the other hand, I don’t want to see that being mandated by the government because just about everything the government gets its mitts on through regulation, regardless of the intention, ends up messed up.

    Bottom line I guess is that what is needed is morality and a sense of justice in the corporate boardroom and executive office — and that can’t be created through government mandate but has to come from persons who pursue virtue through and in their work. Which makes a nice segue into bringing attention to our new channel “The Integrated Life” which is about how to grow in virtue while engaged in work in the corporate world.

  • fishman

    don’t we all love ‘progress’ It used to be doctors worked for whatever their patients COULD pay , they knew each of them personally , and were often paid in eggs or chickens … truthfully their services are invaluable and in many cases nessary for life. So they should not be denied to anyone. On the other hand , supplies cost money .. time is money … what might make a good first step is to systematically dismantle insurance … no insurance and the doctors have to decide how and whom to help. I sometimes think all insurance should be banned and that way people could start practicing abondoment.