Friday, April 27, 2012

Newt Gingrich's Saving Lives & Saving Money 5

In my last reading of Saving Lives & Saving Money: Transforming Health and Healthcare, Newt Gingrich talks about offering incentives for healthy living.  I enjoyed his anecdote on page 101:

"The amount of hours we worked and the time my staff and I spent in the Speaker's office made it very easy to make poor dietary choices and not exercise.  Leftover cookies and appetizers from meetings and receptions, fast food, and tuna melts from the grill led to almost everyone in the office gaining weight over the first year.  Someone in the office started a weight contest, who could lose 8% of their body weight in eight weeks.  Everyone who wanted to participate put in $20 and weighed in with the weight keeper.  It became a team approach to healthy behavior.  After eight weeks, two of the staff had achieved their goal, winning about $150 each, and quite a few others were close behind.  This is not a revolutionary idea but the kind of healthy, team-building activity that could be replicated in any workplace.  It just takes leadership."

I appreciate this anecdote because it gives me a glimpse into what life in Washington is like and also shows that Newt and his staff were pretty cool----in that they had the camaraderie to hold a weight-loss contest.

In terms of the incentives that society can offer for healthy living, Newt on pages 101-102 suggests "lower co-pays for patients who are compliant with their health-management requirements."  I wonder how that compliance would be measured.  Would it be through such things as weight-loss and low cholesterol?

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