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The absolute last word on wellness economics: there are none

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

Jon Robison recently published an article showing the futility of using wellness programs to save money.  Futility is an understatement — here is the absolute, take-it-to-the-bank proof on how much money wellness loses, and why my $3 million reward money is safe.  The key display is right here:

The two lines at the bottom are the US population potentially exposed to wellness (insured by employer) and the entire non-exposed <65 population (Medicaid + uninsured + self-pay).   As wellness became increasingly common, one would expect the lines to separate. And they did…by about 0.2%, or roughly 700 heart attacks in the entire US population. (This of course assumes that none of the separation is due to the social determinants of health — one would expect people who enjoy employer-paid insurance to be better off than those who are on their own, or have Medicaid.)

Ironically, Medicare — where by definition nobody has access to workplace wellness — did the best of all.

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

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