Republican Senator Claims That Healthcare Reform Will Hurt Employers’ “Wellness Efforts”

Mitch McConnell is an NRA supporter

Mitch McConnell is an NRA supporter

Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that healthcare proposals being “kicked around in Congress” are discouraging wellness efforts made by private companies to help meet the health care needs of their employees.

McConnell appeared on Meet The Press after host David Gregory had interviewed Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius about healthcare reform and its cost.

During the interview McConnell maintained that the U.S. has “quality healthcare right now.” Gregory shelled out some statistics reminding McConnell that currently there are 47 million Americans without health insurance and that experts on the issue have written about the myth that the U.S.’ healthcare system is “the best in the world.”

But McConnell remained steadfast on the idea that Obama’s proposals will not address what’s wrong with healthcare in America. He said that the government’s healthcare proposals are unnecessary because employers are already trying to address the issue at the workplace. McConnell cited the grocery chain Safeway and the steps it is taking to promote “wellness.”

“Through their own efforts, they’ve targeted the five biggest categories of preventable disease: smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and lack of exercise,” McConnell said. “They’ve ‘incentivized’ their employees to improve their personal behaviors in all of those areas and they’ve cap their costs.”

But Gregory failed to follow McConnell’s statement with a question about what are those same employers doing, beyond these “wellness efforts,” to provide employees with the medical care they and their families need if they’re diagnosed with an illness.

McConnell maintained that the cost of Obama’s healthcare reform efforts will drive the federal deficit through the roof. He said that he opposes the healthcare proposal, sponsored by Senators Ted Kennedy and Christopher Dodd. “This is a bill that shouldn’t pass at any point,” McConnell said. “What we really need to come up with is a really bipartisan proposal…I don’t think this particular measure out to pass either the House or the Senate because is not good for the country.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had earlier said that President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform efforts will not add to the federal deficit and that Democrats are looking into cutting any unnecessary costs that would be incurred by the implementation of a final bill.

“First of all, I think it’s clear that [a healthcare bill] will bring down cost to a degree, it won’t do enough to bring cost down over time and we will incorporate that, but I think you got to start from ground zero, which is that the status quo is absolutely unsustainable….we’re paying more and getting less,” Sebelius told David Gregory during an interview at Meet The Press. “Right now the insurance companies pick and choose who gets the benefits and what care.”

According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, healthcare reform may end up costing $600 billion and raise the federal deficit to $2 trillion this year. Republicans have opposed such spending saying that under the current recession, raising taxes to pay for a new healthcare initiative will cost jobs.

Keeping the cost down is one of the aims of those working on the health care proposals and there is no final bill yet that can be brought to a vote until all options have been looked at, Sebelius said.


4 Responses to Republican Senator Claims That Healthcare Reform Will Hurt Employers’ “Wellness Efforts”

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Norris Hall
    July 20, 2009 at 2:27 am

    33% of Americans think the US health care system needs a major overhaul
    Only 16% think we should leave it just as it is

    We are the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t provide healthcare in some form to all it’s citizens. In fact many of us have no health insurance

    Other developed nations have found their solution to heath care
    How do they do it? Compare

    The question is, though, do they really like their system. Or would they prefer a system like ours.

    The vast majority of Americans feel that we need health care reform this year.

    Both Republicans and Democrats have come up with their plans for health reform
    Let’s take the best ideas from each side, add in the best of systems from around the world and come up with something that will work.

    No one is going to get everything they want. But at least we can fix some of the major problems.

    Iinaction is totally unacceptable. And just taking something to dull the pain isn’t going to really solve the problem

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1hsr0601
    July 20, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Let me be clear the current recession resulted from the concentration of capital toward a few, thereby revived middle class and consumer confidence would be a key to vibrant economy activity and employment as the money does not evaporate.

    Basically, If ruling party changes, accordingly tax system also does, especially given the condition that the middle class is undergoing severe financial hardship as a consequence of the extremely high fuel price, mortgage rate, and insurance premium, which is a beauty and virtue of democracy as we know.

    In case some people have enjoyed the benefit of exemptions, that might imply others have shouldered the equivalent of their share.
    Now the time has come for the middle class and middle class-oriented party to take initiative.
    In general, advanced states are characterized as a broad base of middle class, the recovery of which is what the last presidential election is for, too.

    Alongside a tax on the richest, alcohol tax and ending subsidies for the private insurers can be considered, I guess.

    Thank You !

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Maura
    July 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Our goal should be to cover all individuals through private health insurance. We are not prepared to turn our health system over to the government. Advocate for greater transparency in both quality and price information. Place both the decision making ability and healthcare dollars in the hands of the consumer. Support the Friends of the U.S. Chamber and sign the Health Care petition at .

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1USNA Ancient
    July 24, 2009 at 1:20 am

    consider the source … mitch mcconnell … the mere mention of his name makes me think that whatever he is saying, I’ll take the opposing viewpoint !

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