Surprise … well, no, not really


What’s that? Business leaders hoping to get what they want out of politicians lied? And politicians believed them?

It’s a seductively simple solution to rising health-care costs. Require workers to pay higher premiums if they flunk tests for measures such as weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Then, bingo: You not only get a fitter workforce, you slash medical expenses.

Politicians of both parties have embraced that idea and expanded upon it in the Senate reform bill, inspired largely by the claims of Steven A. Burd, Safeway’s chief executive. Burd says he has set an example for employers nationwide by rewarding employees for healthy behavior.

“Safeway designed just such a plan in 2005 and has made continuous improvements each year,” Burd wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “The results have been remarkable,” he declared, adding that “our health care costs for four years have been held constant.”

If only that were true.

Imagine that.

To the one, people shouldn’t need The Washington Post to tell them that politicians are clueless or corporate leaders dishonest, but, hey, if you want the detail, there it is.

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