PLEASANTON, Calif. — Steve Burd, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Safeway here, is advocating passage of national health legislation similar to the approach his company has taken.
Writing in an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal last Friday, Burd said, “While comprehensive health care reform needs to address a number of ... key issues, we believe that personal responsibility and financial incentives are the path to a healthier America. By our calculation, if the nation had adopted our approach in 2005, the nation's direct health care bill would be $550 billion less than it is today.”
Since 2005, when Safeway implemented its program internally, Burd said per capita health care costs have remained flat, compared with increases of 38% for most consumers, while obesity and smoking rates among Safeway employees are approximately 70% of the national average.
Burd said 76% of employees have asked for more financial incentives to reward healthy behavior; however, Safeway is prohibited by law from increasing the incentives, he noted.
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