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What Trump’s election means for workplace wellness

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

Assume that one reason voters, rightly or wrongly, elected Donald Trump was because they feel big business and government are in bed together. To the degree that is the case, workplace wellness is their sex toy.

Indeed, nothing in healthcare more embodies the complete disdain for the average worker than the joined-at-the-hip partnership between big business and government known as workplace wellness.

There is an entire posting on this topic right over at Insurance Thought Leadership.

I won’t repeat the entire posting here but would encourage you to click though and learn how the Business Roundtable and US Chamber of Commerce, two pro-business lobbying groups, glommed onto wellness as a way to reduce employer contributions to employee insurance — and bought Congress, and threatened the Obama Administration into supporting this agenda.

Wellness industry leaders became their “useful idiots” to translate the goal of reduced contribution into reality. If you aren’t familiar with that term, Wikipedia defines “useful idiots” as “people used for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.”  The raison d’etre of the Roundtable and Chamber isn’t to get employees to eat more broccoli. It’s to reduce employer insurance contribution, the sooner the better, by making wellness programs so unattractive that employees would rather be fined than participate.

One vendor accidentally tipped its hand before I pointed out that their dogwhistle to corporations was a bit too loud. They then removed the explicit language from their website.


Obviously, this isn’t the case for all vendors and all employers. Quizzify, of course, is one example of a wellness program that doesn’t need to threaten employees with big forfeitures in order to be successful.  But Quizzify is the exception. There is a reason why the Fortune 100 has by and large created massive non-participation forfeitures far in excess of spending on wellness-sensitive medical events, and has by and large chosen the same handful of major wellness vendors to play the role of the useful idiots.  We already knew these vendors excel at the latter 50% of that job description. The former wouldn’t be a stretch.

Go to Insurance Thought Leadership and read why, whatever your view of the election, you should hope that under the new administration, employees really will have a chance to do exactly what the title of our book says:


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

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