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    Safeway’s Burd Details Chain’s Health Care Reform

    Safeway president, chairman, and CEO Steve Burd Friday outlined how his company is leading health care reform by example with an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal titled “How Safeway Is Cutting Health-Care Costs.”

    Safeway president, chairman, and CEO Steve Burd Friday outlined how his company is leading health care reform by example with an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal titled “How Safeway Is Cutting Health-Care Costs.”

    Burd wrote that effective health care reform must provide universal coverage for all Americans and dramatically reduce the cost of health care.

    Key to this reform -- and realizing this savings -- are health care plans that reward healthy behavior, he wrote. For example, as Burd told Progressive Grocer during a past visit, healthy meals in its corporate cafeteria are discounted vs. something less healthy, such as a hamburger and fries.

    Safeway’s plan capitalizes on two key insights gained in 2005, Burd wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “The first is that 70 percent of all health -care costs are the direct result of behavior. The second insight, which is well understood by the providers of health care, is that 74 percent of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity). Furthermore, 80 percent of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is preventable, 60 percent of cancers are preventable, and more than 90 percent of obesity is preventable.”

    Since designing its program in 2005, the chain has kept its per capita health care costs flat (that includes both the employee and the employer portion), while most American companies’ costs have increased 38 percent over the same four years, wrote Burd.

    In addition to heading up Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, Burd is the founder of the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform.

    To see the full column, visit: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124476804026308603.html.

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