"The Public Employees' Benefit Board put itself ahead of the curve — but not too far ahead — when it decided to penalize state workers who don't participate in its new wellness program, experts say."Well, who could PEBB be targeting? What class of people tend to smoke more, drink more and eat fast food more? One might call them, using old terminology, the "undeserving" lower class. And the PEBB society builders want to tell them how to live.
. . .
"PEBB's wellness program, called the Health Engagement Model, has been a source of controversy since Oregon workers first learned of its adoption. Most objections have revolved around the $20 to $35 monthly penalty assessed against people who decline to participate in the HEM."
The real issue is not health costs. Even people who live "healthy" get diabetes, heart disease and cancer since there are hereditary factors that play significant roles in those diseases. Same with stroke and Alzheimer's. Actually, stroke has racial, age, gender, even (surprise!) socioeconomic factors as well.
We are told that 20% of people account for 80% of health care costs.
"'Statistics show that 20 percent of the population are the ones accounting for approximately 80 percent of health care costs," [Rose Stanley, a consultant with WorldatWork] said. 'It's that 20 percent they're trying to get to, but employers can't force you to go and get your screenings done, so they have turned to incentives or penalties.'"But 30% of that 80% of costs is apparently due to end-of-life care. Since everyone dies, end-of-life care is spendy whether you lived healthy or not. Maybe more so if you lived healthy and die of a years long decline body part by body part or the need for constant daily care and declining physical health that shadow Alzheimer's or dementia.
The real issue here is not unhealthy lifestyle and significant lowering of health costs, the real issue is control. The PEBB has chosen the stick approach to force employees to follow state rules not only at work but 24/7. Since the employer as feudal lord works best with people who are at the lower end of societal power, PEBB is betting on financial penalties over rewards.