Why can nothing be easy in this country? First you have to submit to ten personality tests to get a job folding jeans at Old Navy, then your vacation days are whittled down to six per millennium, and now you have to relinquish full blood work, a pint of urine, and your soul to get reasonably priced healthcare (lest you be financially penalized)? Seriously? Fuck that noise. What's next? They'll strap us all to exercise machines at lunchtime to harness our energy and convert it into power to subsidize our Nationally fucked insurance costs? Dramatic? Yes. Possible? Maybe.*
First, Whole Foods got all up in its employees business when Libertarian bunghole John Mackey gave skinny employees a bigger discount than the fatties — because how else will you make fat people skinny if you don't make it so they can't afford to eat at all? Or, even worse, can only afford garbage chemical food? Now, CVS joins the ranks of corporations that want to play the weight shame game.
By May 1st, all CVS employees who use the companies health insurance must allow a doctor to collect data on their weight, BMI, and glucose testing.
The folks at CVS corporate are calling it "voluntary" — and making employees sign a form saying as much — but how voluntary is it when people who opt out have to pay an additional $50 a month to keep the healthcare? And who do you think will opt out of the screenings? People who are terrified of submitting to a weight screening, that's who.
$600 dollars a year is a significant chunk of change, no matter who you are, but especially for most CVS employees. And for anyone who wants to say that's not that much money — wake the fuck up. I polled five CVS employees who are friends and friends of friends, and they all confirmed that they make barely over minimum wage. I know, you're surprised to learn that people who work in drug stores aren't rolling in mountains of excess cash. It's a lot of money, and for many it could determine whether they have a place to live next month.
CVS released this very big brother message regarding the situation:
We want to help our employees to be as healthy as they can be, which is why we decided to implement this plan. In fact, we have been working for a number of years on ways they can improve their health through preventive measures. Healthcare programs that incent employees to be healthier are not new. Many companies around the country already have plans similar to the one we are implementing. In fact, 79% of large employers have health assessments incorporated into their programs. To encourage a higher level of participation in our wellness review, we reviewed best practices and determined that an additional cost for those who do not complete the review was the most effective way to incent our colleagues to improve their health care and manage health costs.
CVS Caremark is committed to providing medical coverage and healthcare programs for our colleagues and privacy is rigorously protected, consistent with HIPAA regulations. All personal health data from these screenings are collected and reviewed by a third-party administrator that supports the CVS Caremark Wellness Program, and this data is not shared with CVS Caremark — rather it is designed to help employees make the best decisions about their own healthcare.
Honestly, this is the sort of shit that would just cause me to lose my healthcare or my job — unless, like many people in this situation, I had no other options. I, for one, do not look forward to this new world, where our bodies are further policed by corporations who don't really give a shit about our actual health. This is the sort of brave new world that defines telecommuting as "meaning you work while you commute".
Healthcare is a right, and it's not a right that goes away because you're fat. Financially penalizing people who are already struggling won't make them skinny. Actually, they'll probably just have less time and money to spend on the things that could actually make them healthier — think gym memberships and organic produce.
If we really want healthy people — equal healthcare will be available to everyone, regardless of weight. That's how you support a healthy workforce. And while we're at it — maybe CVS should stop selling only junk food? You know, if they really care so damn much about health.