Washington, D.C. – Today, the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform (CAHR) and the National Chamber Foundation co-hosted a forum entitled “Keeping America’s Workforce Healthy: Prevention, Wellness and Behavior.” The symposium spurred an open dialogue with some of the nation’s top business leaders and largest employers on the importance of creating a workplace environment that promotes good health through wellness programs. Participants also highlighted the successes and best practices implemented within their own companies.
Several CEOs and top senior executives from leading businesses around the country represented CAHR today in various wellness panel discussions. Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway Inc., along with Steve Sanger, Chairman of General Mills, and Jeff Kindler, CEO of Pfizer Inc., opened up the discussion speaking about the importance of wellness in the workplace and the success these programs have brought to their own companies. Attendees of today’s event also heard from senior executives of CAHR member companies including CIGNA, GlaxoSmithKline, and Kraft Foods as well as Senator Tom Harkin, (D-IA).
“At Safeway we are thinking in a whole new way about healthcare. We have completely changed the focus of our healthcare plan to one that emphasizes prevention and wellness rather than one that exists to treat people after they have developed an illness,” said Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway Inc and Chairman of CAHR. “As a result our employees are living healthier lives and healthcare costs for both our employees and our company have gone down. The success prevention and wellness programs have brought to Safeway and many other CAHR companies can be instructive as many states and our nation discuss ways to reform our healthcare system while driving down costs and increasing access to coverage.”
“General Mills may have one of the strongest wellness programs in America,” said Steve Sanger, Chairman of General Mills. “We’ve been focused on employee health and wellness for 25 years. We’ve learned a lot, and our efforts have helped us contain our health care costs. But more importantly, we’re helping our employees live better, healthier lives.”
CAHR believes individuals and families should have strong personal financial incentives for adopting healthy behaviors. Since 50% to 70% of total healthcare costs are behavior driven, healthcare plans must be designed to drive healthy behavior – starting with prevention and wellness and incorporating full care management programs for those with chronic and acute conditions.
CAHR is a working coalition of business leaders and employers committed to solving our nation’s healthcare crisis by advancing a set of five core principles to guide and shape state and federal policies. Specifically, the coalition believes the foundation of any reform must be based on the following: Market-Based Healthcare System; Universal Coverage with Individual Responsibility; Financial Assistance for Low-Income Individuals; Healthier Behavior and Incentives; Equal Tax Treatment.