Published: May 03, 2013
May 02, 2013
Dear Mr. President:
In the past you have said, “Building a health care system that promotes prevention rather than just managing diseases will require all of us to do our part. It will take doctors telling us what risk factors we should avoid and what preventive measures we should pursue. And it will take employers following the example of places like Safeway that is rewarding workers for taking better care of their health while reducing health care costs in the process.” (New York Times, June 15, 2009).
Thank you for your continued support for wellness and prevention programs offered by employers. Business Roundtable is deeply concerned that the rule on Incentives for Nondiscriminatory Wellness Programs in Group Health Plans, which is pending at the Office of Management and Budget, may not continue to permit employers to enhance wellness benefits by providing incentives to employees. The key, however, is employee incentives and that is what makes the proposed rule your Administration is reviewing so important. We need participation and contingent-based programs that encourage improvement in our employees’ health – it is about better health care for our workers if they engage. Enacting the rules on wellness programs consistent with the provision of the law and existing regulations is the number one Affordable Care Act implementation issue today for Business Roundtable members.
Helping our employees improve specific health risk factors through efforts authorized under the Affordable Care Act is a high priority. Employers can design and offer programs that focus on a few health risks and conditions through awareness, education, behavior change, and a supportive environment. We share your goal of promoting these efforts. We see private-sector innovation in the provision of employee wellness programs as one of the greatest opportunities to drive increased health care quality and affordability under the Affordable Care Act. Business Roundtable CEOs, who collectively employ nearly 16 million people and provide health care coverage to nearly 40 million beneficiaries, lead companies that represent the capstone of the U.S. economy and the cornerstones of the thousands of communities across the United States in which we operate. We are focused on creating a foundation of stability, growth, and prosperity for America, and a safe repository for middle-class savings. We are also focused on improving the health and well-being of our employees and their families.
Wellness programs work. They lower health care costs by keeping workers and their families healthier. In my own company, Caesars Entertainment, we have seen wellness program participants, on average, lower their blood pressure by 7 points, reduce total cholesterol by 11 points, and improve their cholesterol ratio by 9 points over a three-year period. These are stunning results that make a real difference in people’s lives. And they are not unique to Caesars. Many of my colleagues are seeing similar results.
Your continued leadership to support education, awareness, and targeted programs for a healthier workforce is applauded and we encourage you to ensure this final rule has no barriers to the continuation of these programs.
Thank you for your attention to this vital issue.
Gary W. Loveman
Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
Caesars Entertainment Corporation
Chair, Health and Retirement Committee