Do businesses have an obligation to morality?

By Joseph Delli Gatti

Companies often jump on board with principles such as “equal opportunity” and environmental initiatives intended to promote a certain brand or reputation among consumers.  But are businesses truly obligated to maintain these reputations behind the scenes – not just ensuring a diverse workforce and using products that are biodegradable?   At the same time that many companies put energy-star compliant ratings on products, they also use pornography (sex) and appeal of law breaking (speeding, stealing, etc) to excite people to buy these products.

Kaiser Permanente has dedicated substantial advertising efforts into promoting health and well-being.  Kaiser also maintains non-profit status, accepts medicare/medicaid patients, and promotes service opportunities among its employees.

While this full-service HMO advertises these principles of health and moral behavior, it also implements a business model that would shock and offend people who oppose redistributive wealth and immorality.  Surely a company that promotes life, health, and goodness would support that reputation with actions – even in secret – right?

Recently, I learned that Kaiser Permanente’s CEO, George Halverson (according to an article on healthcare in USA Today) makes over $2.2 million in net income annually – while heading a non-profit organization.

According to Can Physicians Manage the Quality and Costs of Health Care? The Story of The Permanente Medical Group by John G Smillie, MD, Kaiser’s health plan started as a way to keep medical facilities open throughout the year in the face of seasonal fluxes and periods of economic hardships.

In the early 1900s, construction workers, etc. were encouraged to pool their resources together, and make consistent monthly payments to help keep the local medical facility open throughout the year.  If you expect to pay $400 in a year on doctor visits or medical emergencies, wouldn’t you be willing to pay $33 per month to ensure that your local doctor’s office could operate year round – just in case you needed them in an emergency?  If the doctor’s office had to close or move due to lack of funding in June-August, you might have to travel many miles to receive needed healthcare.

There should be great financial stability in getting large amounts of people to pool their money together to pay monthly.  The services rendered and the money paid should also equal out over time, if people are getting their money’s worth for their health care.  Healthy people who don’t use their health plans should get a refund (or the value back in some other way).

Only people who received medical treatment throughout the year should be held responsible for the costs of their own health care.  An honest company should generally be able to operate over time based solely on the people who buy and use its services.  If not, it needs to raise its prices on its habitual consumers or realize that it needs to trim down the overhead required to produce the services.

Now you might say, “But the doctor provides value in just being there in case you need them in an emergency – for insurance purposes.”  Well, we call that insurance, which is an entirely different concept from HMO-style healthcare plans.  Health plans assume that you will use the services that are funded by your payment.

Medical insurance bases itself on pooling medical risk, and is much less expensive generally.  You don’t intend to need or use insurance.  Medical insurance is there just in case that extremely rare possibility that you will be the victim of a random accident and will need assistance outside of what you can pay on your own.  Additionally, each person pays an amount determined by the amount of risk that they bring to the risk pool.  If someone is at high risk or is likely to be more expensive in an accident, they pay more.

In an HMO situation, a company will typically pay for a health plan for its employees.  All risk from the employees is pooled together, and then goes to fund the people who need healthcare.  Employees who are chronically sick or who want to abuse the system, get to do so under the radar, and at everyone else’s expense.  The money paid by one company is not kept in reserve specifically for that company either; it may go to medical costs of another company.

You may pay $100 per month for full coverage auto insurance, but it covers both you and the other property or people you hit with your car – in some cases up to a few hundred thousand dollars.  Car insurance is a legal necessity because cars possess the ability to inflict large losses on other people.  Basic car insurance covers the damages to the other party, but maybe not damages to you.  If you want to drive, you have to promise that you’ll pay for any damages that you may cause to others on the road.  In fact, if you can prove that you can afford to pay any likely damages to the same degree that minimal coverage provides, you don’t have to have insurance – you can get an exemption and keep your insurance money.  I know what you’re thinking: Duh, I already know about car insurance and that it’s to protect other people on the road from potential damage that I cause to their property.

While a “just in case” scenario may be served through a healthcare plan for you, that money is serving a just-in-case purpose for the doctor too.  Why should you be the one who pays for a relationship that benefits the healthcare company too?  It’s reminiscent of the married couple involving one person tries to make the relationship work while the other just takes and takes.  It’s not a healthy or a good relationship.

That is sort of what healthcare plans have become – a way to use healthy and responsible people’s money to fund bloated healthcare-related salaries, and to underhandedly subsidize the medical costs of the irresponsible risk takers (the non-risk-averse people), the chronically ill, and the people who go to see the doctor when nothing is wrong with them (the hypochondriacs).  You may be surprised to know that it goes to subsidize Medicaid-funded abortions, clean needles for drug abusers, and STD maintenance of the sexually irresponsible – it funds (and therefore promotes in a huge way) immorality.

The result of using drugs might be death – but take death out of the equation, and you have more incentive to do drugs – especially if someone else helps pay for it.  The result of sexual promiscuity might be STDs or an undesired pregnancy, but subsidize it and minimize the effects, and it becomes pretty appealing to even more people.

To prove this point, I draw on personal experience (no not with promiscuity or drug abuse, but with the appeal of risk).  I justified not going skydiving for a few reasons, one being that I couldn’t afford the risk.  My brother approached me, and asked me to go with him.  I said no until he agreed to pay half and assured me that it was safe enough if I was strapped to an instructor.  I went!  I surely wouldn’t have gone if the associated costs were too high, and hadn’t been supplemented by a third party.

We know that drugs and promiscuity cause a detriment to society beyond the damage caused to people directly involved in the acts.  If a man cheats on his wife, his children are affected, his wife is affected, his job may be affected, and even his friends and extended family are affected.  Cheating on your spouse may be grounds for a divorce – causing your wife to need to work full time, causing her to neglect her kids or dump them on grandparents while taking the job of someone else who needed to support their family.

But by making it cheaper and easier for people to take unhealthy and immoral risks, aren’t you being an enabler, a promoter, and a responsible party?  If you sell alcohol to a minor, you could be fined or thrown in jail; but, if you give them a condom or an abortion, then you get a pat on the back?  If you sell illegal drugs, you get thrown in jail; however, if you supply drug needles and pipes, you’re (again) a hero?  Common sense is slowly becoming a hidden truth and a secret in our society deceitfully in the name of compassion and charity.

Sure, the end result may be suicides, some other form of death or a shortened life span – and maybe that’s what’s secretly desired by the political liberals of our country who espouse fears of over-population and the worship of mere science as a moral base (rather than God): slow, calm, and stealthy death.  Death through abortion, death through drug abuse, and death through the absence of procreation seems to be the message sent by the left wing of our country.  That certainly is what’s being promoted: pleasure without responsibility and void of thought for the long-term potential damages.

This brings us back to Kaiser Permanente.  Kaiser boasts an entire healthcare package: health plans, doctors, staff, facilities, etc.  It does come at a price that not everyone can afford.  In fact, the best way to get complete healthcare coverage for free, just become an employee of Kaiser Permanente.  Beyond the competitive pay offered to its employees, it boasts an appealing healthcare package – all funded by healthy members who don’t use their health plans.  And did I mention that the federal government just mandated that you have to have healthcare coverage – even if you don’t want it and won’t use it?

So, who benefits the most from healthcare?  This is where it gets really ugly…  . According to preventdisease.com, “Preventable illness makes up approximately 80% of the burden of illness and 90% of all healthcare costs.”  One study estimated that up to 7.4 percent of all deaths in the US are related to sexual promiscuity and STDs – a huge preventable continuing healthcare cost that still ends in premature death.  Addiction medicine and mental health accompany these high costs to society.

The fact that LGBT people are four and a half times more likely to contract STDs than people who are not LGBT, live 20 years less than the rest of the population on average, and make up over 63 percent of AIDS patients is not likely a surprise to people who have researched the issue.  The LGBT community, a demograph based on self-identity of alternate sexual practices and orientation constitutes by far the most susceptible demograph to preventable sexually transmitted diseases, associated healthcare costs, and related deaths.

Did you know that Kaiser Permanente was awarded LGBT employer of the year by Diversity magazine.  It also won several awards by homosexual organizations for hiring and maintaining a high interest in recruiting LGBT people as well as for providing LGBT people with affordable healthcare.  Many pro-LGBT Websites place high emphasis on healthcare – it becomes a necessity for homosexuals who want to maintain these damaging and costly practices and lifestyles for any length of time.

Kaiser offers homosexual-partner benefits to its employees, and has a site dedicated to LGBT recruiting, and another site dedicated to “Pride” parades around the US.  In fact, Kaiser Permanente hosts the “gay-pride” organizing committee, and donates a significant amount of money to fund the “Pride” parades in several states.  So that’s where the surplus of your healthcare goes when you are healthy and avoid risky lifestyles and activities, and where some of the government’s potential tax revenue goes.

Who has the greatest incentive to have healthcare coverage?  Long-term and continuing care patients.  Kaiser employs and covers these people at your expense through the HMO system.  Is this ethical?  Does Kaiser have an obligation to change this behavior?

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