Rahm Emanuel and reducing health care costs.

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Rahm Emanuel said today city workers should take better care of themselves — with City Hall’s help — as one way to  save taxpayers money by reducing health care costs.

In 2011, Chicago taxpayers will spend nearly $500 million on health care costs for city employees, their families and retirees, Emanuel said. If elected mayor, he said he is committed to reducing health care costs by 20 percent by the end of his first term, in large part through what he called a “wellness and disease management strategy.”
With just 4 percent of the city’s workforce accounting for roughly 65 percent of the city’s health care cost, there is an identifiable population to approach, he said.

The plan will emphasize prevention and management of chronic conditions — such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes and coronary artery disease — that drive the majority of health care costs.

Under Emanuel’s plan, which is similar to those adopted in the private sector, employees would be screened to identify ailments and set health goals.

“We’re not going to have a discriminatory policy. The system has to be structured for an incentive,” Emanuel said. For example, he said, participating workers could see lower co-payments.

(From: Chicago Tribune: http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2010/12/emanuel-says-healthier-workers-will-save-city-millions-of-dollars.html)

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