I was looking at the Knoxville News Sentinel business section this morning, and there's a photo of some guy speaking about health care. The caption says he is with Pitney Bowes. I'm thinking, what the hell do postage meters have to do with health care?

It turns out he is the "vice president of strategic initiatives" and he was speaking to a group of about 500 "benefits managers" at a health care forum in Downtown Knoxville yesterday.

VP of strategic initiatives? So apparently, managing the reliability and operational readiness of an interchangeable human resource unit while reducing maintenance costs and extending its service life is now a "strategic initiative."

Here's an example of how that works:

The average annual cost of care for a diabetic at Pitney Bowes is about $2,500. When an employee uses only $1,000 worth of care, it should be a clear indicator that the person isn't taking the appropriate steps to manage their disease.


Health risk assessments are an essential tool in identifying those factors, said Elaine Schnueringer, project manager for the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that command and control of interchangeable human resource units by corporate benefactors should begin and end at the workplace and not extend into our personal lives?

What's amazing to me is that rugged free-market individualists oppose any government involvement in our health care system yet are content to allow corporate intrusion into the most private aspects of their lives. They are happy to let corporations extend control of their lives outside the workplace and spy on their behavior. They see no problem with the cost of health care driving up prices of everything from postage meters to automobiles and making American workers less competitive in the global market place.

Whatever. The answer is simple: Open up Medicare to everyone, with premiums on a sliding scale based on income and subsidized premiums for the poor (thus eliminating Medicaid in the process). There's a whole industry, though, that wouldn't like this, including corporate "benefit managers" one would presume.


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