Strengthening the health of Kentucky’s workforce is critical to our economic success. Kentucky has one of the nation’s unhealthiest populations with consistent rankings at or near the top of the list in smoking rates, obesity levels and other indicators of poor health. In addition to being a quality-of-life issue, the state’s health status has a significant impact on the business community, increasing employers’ health care costs and hindering their ability to hire a healthy and productive workforce. Nationally, Americans use preventative services at about half the recommended rate. Preventing disease before it starts is critical to helping people live longer, healthier lives and keep health care costs down. The Chamber encourages employers to implement wellness-based programs that encourage prevention and prompt workers to improve their healthy habits.
To improve the health of Kentuckians and to promote an under-used cost control measure, the Chamber supports legislation to provide tax and other incentives for the creation of wellness programs enabling businesses to educate and encourage their employees to engage in healthy lifestyles and obtain preventive care. The Chamber supports government programs and policies that help provide education and assistance for companies, organizations and individuals to promote health and wellness throughout Kentucky. These efforts should focus on encouraging a level of personal responsibility for one’s health as well as organizational health promotion policies and environments.
The Chamber also supports initiatives that provide greater incentives for individuals and/or employers to purchase long-term care insurance policies. As the population ages, individuals will likely require health care services from every level and setting of care, from non-medical aid to skilled home health to a skilled nursing facility, and each should be accessible while delivering quality care. Additionally, the Chamber encourages policymakers to concentrate elder care resources on case management to ensure people’s needs are matched with the most appropriate care.