As Obama pressures Congress to rush through yet another boondoggle before anyone can review it, I noticed that he wants to implement wellness programs as part of the package.
As someone who has worked in the health and fitness field for 16 years, mainly in corporate wellness programs, I feel qualified to comment on this. I anticipate that supporters of Obama's healthcare scheme will cite studies that show increased savings and lower absentee rates for companies that implement employee wellness programs.
In reality, it's difficult to quantify healthcare savings due to wellness programs. For many companies, most of their healthcare expenses are due to retirees who have chronic diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease. The purpose of the wellness program is to identify individuals who are at increased risk of developing these disorders, intervene and attempt to effect a lifestyle change to lessen risk of developing chronic disease. Thus, the benefits may not be apparent for years to come.
I'm not saying that wellness programs don't have their benefits. But what I have come to realize is that you can educate people and help them develop strategies for adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but you can't make them do it! It still boils down to personal responsibility and many people simply lack the motivation to make a healthy diet and regular exercise a priority, even when offered financial incentives.
This administration seems so power-hungry that I have to wonder: if government starts providing our healthcare, are they then going to start telling us what we have to eat, how much we have to exercise, and forbid us from eating certain foods? I don't think that's out of the realm of possibility.
For those who want national healthcare I can only say: be careful what you wish for. Think about the last time you dealt with a government bureaucracy - it probably wasn't one of the more pleasant experiences of your life. Do you really want this same government making healthcare choices for you? If so, bend over - you're about to get the shaft!