Clarian's plan makes the LA Times

Dateline: Mon 30 Jul 2007

A story in the Los Angeles Times takes note of the start of a trend by some employers to punish workers for being overweight or having other health issues. Thanks to Jim Burns for sending this along, and here is the link:,0,6468472.story

Clarian Health Partners in Indianapolis is cited for crafting the most aggressive plan in the nation to address the problem. They choose the stick instead of the carrot.

Jim Burns has slightly stronger language, calling Clarian "health Nazis" and recalling the days when Indiana was fond of eugenics to create a more perfect Hoosier.

Here are excerpts from the LA Times on why this may not be the best idea yet:

"Critics of the lose-it-or-pay trend say that companies that charge overweight employees more for their medical coverage are turning the healthcare system into a police state and, just as worrisome, are working off of a false assumption that it's easy for people who are obese and have other health issues to change their situations.

"According to a 2005 Stanford University study, obese people with health coverage may already be punished on the job. Those surveyed were paid an average of $1.20 less per hour than non-obese workers, perhaps because employers intentionally adjust their wages to account for healthcare costs.

"'It's reprehensible to punish and emasculate someone for having a disease like obesity," said Walter Lindstrom, director of the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center in Chula Vista, Calif. "Anyone who penalizes workers for being overweight should brace themselves for a backlash."

Will there be a backlash in Indianapolis? There should be. I'm told that the new guidelines apply only to Clarian's Downtown operations; Clarian North is not affected. Obviously, they're not as fat on the Northside....


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