Prevention also means having health care

The governor just had a press conference, on healthy living and prevention that featured many of our allies, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, United Nurses Association of California, among other advocates.

We fully support our allies and the governor on this effort. But one thing irks us.

It’s Steve Burd from Safeway. He’s been canvassing the country, touting his money-saving “consumer-directed” innovation for non-union employees. (I’ve blogged on that before and you can read about it here.)

But what troubles me this time is that while Mr. Burd is out there talking about how people need to take more ownership of their health, exercise, take their meds, see the doctor, his own industry — and a contract that he supported in Southern California — is making it much harder for his workers to get health coverage (from his own company.)

That’s all spelled out in this January 2007 report from UC Berkeley called “Declining Health Coverage in the Southern California Grocery Industry.”

Here are some of the stats:

Coverage:

  • Before the contract (September 03): 94% of workers had health coverage
  • After the contract (September 06): 54% of workers had health coverage

Turnover:

  • Before the contract : ~19%
  • After the contract: ~32%

Treatment of Chronic conditions

  • Those with old contract: 50.6% compliance
  • Those hired after new contract: 35.6% compliance

Worker delayed for went without care

  • Those with old contract: 20.4%
  • Those hired after new contract: 37.9%

Leading a healthy life and preventing diseases from getting worse requires health coverage so that people feel like they can get the needed care. Especially when you’re making $8 an hour as a grocery worker, putting food on your own table and paying your rent may have to take priority over paying full price for drugs and doctor’s visits.

For individuals to take personal responsibility, Steve Burd and his CEO also need to take responsibility. Provide proper health care.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: