Fit Brother is Watching

Los Angeles Times: To hold down medical costs, some firms are penalizing workers who are overweight or don’t meet health guidelines.

Boy, do I have mixed feelings about this…

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14 Responses to “Fit Brother is Watching”

  1. Dwight Williams Says:

    No arguments. I suppose Robert Sawyer’s Frameshift and David Brin’s Earth have sensitized me to the potential fallout of such practices in different ways.

  2. Charles Bryan Says:

    What a bunch of rat bastards. This doesn’t “turn the health care system into a police state” — it turns the workplace into a police state. Where the hell are the Teamsters when we need ’em? Grrrr.

  3. Steve Gerber Says:

    Employers and insurers are on safe territory as long as they just target America’s stand-in niggers: wide loads and smokers. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the insurance companies decide that other lifestyle choices — e.g., unsafe driving, bungee jumping, sky diving, gay sex — also constitute risk factors for longterm health problems.

    (Anyone who thinks that’s impossible doesn’t understand the psychology of American capitalism, which exists to preserve freedom for enterprise, not people.)

  4. Scott Andrew Hutchins Says:

    Being from Indianapolis, I’m familiar with Clarian Health. My dad is (or was as of Thursday) in the Methodist Hospital mentioned in the story, and he certainly has a weight problem.

    I heard a guest on NPR saying that capitalism can only be American in nature if it works within the confines of democracy, but it’s been breaking out of it for the past few decades.

  5. Scott Andrew Hutchins Says:

    This doctor actually referred to “coloured people!”

  6. Jeff Z Says:

    Our elections also frequently defy the confines of democracy. I wonder what kind of coverage Katherine Harris has these days?

  7. Charles Bryan Says:

    And of course, it can go beyond financial penalities. Here in Michigan a year or so back, the Weyco Corporation (“an insurance consulting firm” — jeezus!) made itself a prime piece of argumentation for socialism.

    There are many reasons to have national health insurance. It won’t be perfect, but it might stop crap like this.

    Or it might make it worse, once someone figures out that cracking down on individual misbehavior can be construed as a budget issue.

    Screw ’em. I’m going for a smoke and a box of fried chicken.

  8. Dwight Williams Says:

    Yep, definitely an argument for Canadian-style medicare…which a number of Canadian doctors still, after five decades, apparently have a problem with.

    Details on some aspects of that here and here.

  9. Dwight Williams Says:

    Oh, and here, too.

  10. Charles Bryan Says:

    Thanks for the links, Dwight. I really enjoyed this portion, from your first link, which says so much in just a few sentences:

    Dr. McMillan said doctors would like the government to look at European models that blend the two systems.

    “We are certainly not talking about a private, for-profit system analogous to the United States. Once you make it quite clear you are not talking about that or anything like that, then the temperature comes down and the controversy is a lot less,” he said.

  11. Dwight Williams Says:

    Yeah, the temperature comes down. Until you remember that we don’t live next door to the European Union, nor do we regularly visit there in enough numbers to make a useful comparison between their assorted methods and the USA “standard”. Not even our doctors do that.

    And we’ve a number of doctors a bit skeptical about that “European-style” line, too.

  12. Steven E. McDonald Says:

    It fucking pisses me off, frankly. While a lot of health issues can be handled with proper nutrition and exercise, there are conditions that don’t respond to either, conditions exacerbated by medical treatment (let’s talk about Prednisone’s side effects for a moment…), conditions exacerbated by other medical conditions (i suffer from chronic venous stasis dermatitis, which can put me on my back for extended periods, which does fuck-nothing for my weight.)


  13. Dwight Williams Says:

    Here’s one or two of those pro-medicare medical professionals’ groups I was talking about:

    Canadian Doctors for MedicareIt may well be that the Ontario Nursing Association’s on board as well per this news item.

  14. beau Says:

    Conversations with a friend of mine in the biz turn on the difference between statistical norms, which the insurance companies should legitimately track when computing the house odds by which they make their wages, versus normative ideals, which really have nothing to do with actuarial prediction. If I may quote from that conversation:

    “Does it cost money to be unfit? Or does it save money to be fit? Is the reference point the ideal or the statistical norm?

    The difference between a Vegas bookie and and insurance company? Win in Vegas they’ll pay up with a smile, give you another drink, and ask you to keep playing. Win against an insurance company and they’ll send their minions to show you fixed the dice or in some other way justify their welching on their bet.