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New York Times 3, Wellness 0

Do you know whether heartburn pills are safe for long-term use?

Quizzify Q in B and W

Quizzify doesn’t misinterpret any employee’s right to not be coerced

Seems like the only people who hate wellness more than the reviled right-wing media are the reviled left-wing media, specifically the New York Times.

For the third time in the last 16 months, their economics blog has slammed wellness.  This posting is about how “voluntary” wellness programs are anything but voluntary.  If the incentive is high enough, a program is forced, even if the Business Roundtable pressures the EEOC into redefining “forced” as “voluntary.” Like if I park in a towaway zone here in Boston, I am forced to move my car or face a $200 fine. Moving the car in no way would be considered a voluntary act on my part.  And yet fines for refusing to participate in wellness programs can be ten times that figure and still be considered “voluntary.”  The column goes into great detail about how forced programs are not voluntary.

This column comes roughly a year after their last smackdown, the first line of which was:

incidental economist

We’re unsure how much clearer they can get, but even so, Ron Goetzel, who never steps out of character, misrepresented their conclusion.

  • NYT: “We’ve said it before, many times and in many ways — workplace wellness programs don’t save money.”
  • Goetzel interpretation: “The New York Times columnists…answered the question ‘Do Wellness Programs Work?’ with ‘usually not.’ “

goetzel quote on usually not


If “voluntary” can mean “forced,” then I guess “no, never” can mean “usually not.”  You know wellness is in trouble when even Ron Goetzel’s misrepresentation of their position says wellness doesn’t work.




In the immortal words of the great philosopher Pat Benatar, hit me with your best shot.

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