Allysia Finley writes in the Wall Street Journal with some modest proposals for further healthcare mandates to supplement the concern for the nation’s well-being already on display in the contraception rule.
Since the criteria for whether an employer or insurer should be required to provide a service now seems to be whether that service is “medically effective” (regardless of actual necessity, contributing circumstances, or personal responsibility, to say nothing of ethical or religious objection) what’s the logic behind denying our population these other provisions?
Fitness club memberships. Most doctors agree that exercising is one of the best ways to prevent disease. However, gym memberships can run between $240 and $1,800 per year. Such high prices force us to choose between exercising and buying groceries. While we could walk or jog outside, many of us prefer not to. Therefore, employers should be required to pay for workers’ gym memberships. Doing so might even reduce employers’ health costs, which is why many companies already subsidize memberships. Those that don’t are limiting our freedom to exercise.
Coffee. Studies show that coffee can ward off depression, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes and sleepinesswhich makes it one of the most powerful preventive treatments. Workers who drink java are also more productive and pleasant. While many offices have coffee makers, some employersmost notably those affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintscontinue to deny workers this essential benefit. All employers should have to provide workers with freshly brewed coffee.
Salad bar. Studies also show that eating a lot of salad helps people maintain a healthy weight, which is key to preventing diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. Admittedly, mandating that employers include a free salad bar in their cafeterias would primarily benefit healthy eaters (women like myself) and raise prices for workers who subsist on junk (most men). However, such a mandate is necessary to expand our access to healthy food. Nanny-state conservatives who oppose this mandate merely want to ban salad and control what we eat.