Monday, June 22, 2009

Market-Based Reforms at Safeway

The June 19, 2009 Wall Street Journal has a good article discussing how Safeway CEO Steve Burd has reduced health care costs and improved quality of care for his employees through market based reforms.

Here are a few excerpts:
...As recently as 2004, Safeway was suffocating under health-care costs growing at 10% a year.

...Today, Safeway has accomplished what Washington claims is the goal: The company's per-capita health-care expenses have remained flat, compared to the near 40% increase experienced by the rest of corporate America over the past four years. This has not been done by cutting care or shifting costs to employees. Nearly 80% of the 30,000 nonunion Safeway workers who take part in the program rate it good, very good, or excellent.

Magic? Not even. Mr. Burd explains that the "cure for today's ills is simply removing the obstacles to a free health-care market."
Read the whole thing.

Employers, employees, and providers all win when the free market is allowed to operate. Safeway employees have experienced these benefits first-hand. Let's hope that our legislators are willing to learn from their experience.