Tuesday, May 13, 2008

California Lawmakers Take a Stab at Legislating Healthy Habits

“Last week, an Assembly committee approved a bill that would require companies bidding on California state contracts to provide wellness benefits for employees. It's not a big part of anybody's health reform package, and the odds aren't good that AB 2360 by Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) will become law, but the attempt represents a significant shift in thinking about health care and how it can be legislated. ‘I truly believe we'd be a lot better off in California if we try to figure out a way to encourage people to get and stay healthy,’ Levine said. ’So much of Western medicine is geared to reacting when something goes wrong that we don't pay a lot of attention to staying away from trouble. This bill is another attempt to encourage good healthy habits,’ Levine said. A generation ago, attempts to legislate wellness and healthy habits were unheard of. They're still rare now, but less so. Levine's bill would apply to companies with 10 or more employees bidding on contracts worth more than $1 million. Businesses could comply in a variety ways -- by subsidizing memberships for fitness clubs, installing fitness facilities, sponsoring employee athletic teams or providing employees with health information. The bill is sponsored by the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which represents more than 9,000 health and fitness facilities, and more than 700 equipment suppliers in 71 countries. The vote to approve Levine's bill in the Business and Professions Committee was 7-3. Democrats voted yes, Republicans voted no. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.”


No comments: