In our headlong rush to hand over every last particle of our collective rights as individuals to corporate America comes the news that our so-called elected representation is in the process of approving a measure that would give employers access to their employee's DNA, conceivably hiring, firing and promoting based on the projected health care costs an employee (or one of their family members) might incur.
If you think this is a good idea, I have a cell phone app that allows you to amend and repeal the laws of physics that I will sell to you for just one-hundred thousand U.S. dollars.
Like so much of their benignly-titled legislation, the Republican-sponsored Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act appears concerned and downright caring on the surface, yet is the most-invasive and potentially exclusionary piece of legislation to come down the pike since the Patriot Act.
Think of it. Your employer will offer you a break on your health care insurance if you submit your DNA (and again, that of your spouse and children) for review. If it even needs to be said, there are no restrictions—none whatsoever—on what your employer can do with this information.
This would be a good time to remember that At Will employment statutes are still very much in effect.
You, the educated and worldly reader of The Square Peg, see where this is headed, right?
Jon: “You know I love Madison's work, Melissa. But her profile troubles me. There's a marker that indicates a susceptibility to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and I'm wondering if going forward, she's the best choice for Communications Director.
IBS is notoriously uncomfortable, and the thought of it—or its side effects—creeping into her work is distressing. Imagine our communication tainted by a spastic colon. Or constricted by constipation. Or worse, let to flow—unchecked—by diarrhea.
The damage to our carefully-crafted brand could be irreparable, Melissa.
It is my belief that we need to make Madison available to the industry ASAP. While Abby's work doesn't possess the articulate, fine edge that Madison's does, her DNA profile is rock-solid, and doesn't point to anything more severe than an occasional cold."
Melissa: "Jon, I have to agree. I'll be sad to see Madison go—she's a lovely girl and has brought so much to this office—but the potential savings on healthcare costs and down time are just too big to ignore.
I think this is the right decision, and one that resonates with our core values. Have Abby see me in five and while she's here, have security escort Madison out. Thanks so much for your input.”
Of course, Republicans and the corporate hacks who who back this deny that any such agenda exists. The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act wants only to lower the cost and speed the delivery of high-quality health care to employees.
Awww. Isn't that sweet?
Awww. Isn't that sweet?
But having watched the bloodletting done in the name of efficiency and shareholder value, I have no doubt this is our future should H.R. 1313 be enacted.
Just as Americans win a hard-fought battle for health insurance that cannot bar us for pre-existing conditions, Republicans want to transfer that ability to our employers.
Thank you. Thank you so very much.
Again, we get the government we deserve. If you're okay with this, remain silent.
If you're not, pick up your phone and start texting your representation now.