Free drugs for US workers
Okay, so employers want to help their employees out by providing them with the drugs they need now. That's not a bad idea. Wait, it's to cut down on costs later? Oh. Well, still, it's understandable to want to cut costs down. They're still helping their workers, right?
NEW YORK: For years, U.S. employers have been pushing their workers to pay more for health care, raising premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses in an effort to save money for the company and force workers to seek only the most necessary care.
Now some employers are reversing course, convinced that their penny- wise approach does not always reduce long-term costs. In the most radical of various moves, a number of employers are now giving away prescription drugs to help workers manage chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and depression.
Major employers like Marriott International, Pitney Bowes, the carpet maker Mohawk Industries and the Maine state government have introduced free drug programs to avoid paying for more expensive treatments down the road.
Companies now recognize that "if you get people's obesity down, cholesterol down, asthma down, you save a lot of money," said Uwe Reinhardt, a health economist at Princeton University.
Despite the government's efforts to promote "consumer-directed" health care, many companies are recognizing the limits to shifting too much of the cost of medical care to employees.
Wow! I bet there's no other reasoning or outside interests being represented here, right?
Experience, Reinhardt said, is contradicting the theory that "patients will be more prudent shoppers for health care if they ache financially when they ache physically." Another motive for the business world could be to stave off greater government involvement in health insurance, now that most presidential candidates and other politicians are promoting health care reform.
Oh. But at least it doesn't involve Big Pharma!
Big drug makers like Pfizer and Merck, which could benefit politically and financially from the employer drug programs, are also supporting the effort.