Since the public option seems more and more likely to be included in a healthcare reform bill, an important part that might be overshadoweded is preventative health.
Much like the British system where doctors are given incentives for reducing the obesity rates and smoking habits among their patients, the newly crafted public option should take these measures to establish a sense of self accountability.
Giving incentives would encourage doctors to participate in the government run healthcare system, because where as in private industries they are able to turn patients away, in the public there would be no room for that type of dismissal.
For instance, Safeway encourages its workers to pursue a healthy lifestyle by rewarding those who do not smoke and stay fit with a monetary bonus.
The “Safeway Amendment” has gained popularity from both parties as well as President Obama and was tentatively added to the Senates healthcare bill in October.
This amendment would not work in our current healthcare system for it would discourage business owners to hire unhealthy people in the work force.
However, the blue print of the “Safeway Amendment” would encourage this style of living if their bonuses were coming from the government rather than the pockets of the business owners.
CEO’s would have no incentive to turn away employees based on body type because it would not hurt their pocket books.
With obesity rates near 30 percent, preventative measures like this should be implemented because obviously the American people are not getting it on their own. If their income provider is controlling their health then people will have no choice but to follow the orders of those who sign their checks.
This issue has many layers to tackle and cannot be solved merely over night or with one incentive package, however this could be a good use of the government to finally monitarily promote a life of wellness, without discriminating against low income groups.
If this amendment were included in the final healthcare bill in the US, would we see an increase in healthier groups and a decline in tobacco related deaths? Would the American people who already have a little incentive to hit the gym grasp on to this new reform or dismiss it like they do the warning labels on the cigarette carton?
Hopefully if it is in fact included in the comprehensive healthcare overhaul it will be promoted to the general public in a way that outlines the personal gains when utilized.
It is not out of the government’s realm to lead by example and take on a cause that will help America as a whole. It is not just another government hand out, it is a step in the right direction to reduce the rate of treatable deaths.
With all that said, none of these measures would work to ultimately cut the obesity rate or tobacco use without the public option installed.
The problem needs to be addressed in a more comprehensive way that takes into account the economic needs of those who can’t afford healthier foods and must resort to fast food outlets.
Unfortunately, obesity is a large problem in America and the light at the end of the tunnel might lie in the public option.