WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) -- Wellness and preventive programs that help employees improve their health help businesses improve their bottom line, U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday.
One day after meeting with leading health industry interests who promised to cut $2 trillion in costs in the next 10 years, Obama met with business, union and government representatives at the White House to encourage private sector employers to offer healthcare incentives to help employees improve their health and prevent disease.
"Yesterday we focused a lot on cost," Obama said after the roundtable. "One element of cost is that where companies are able to take initiatives to make their employees healthier, to give them incentives and mechanisms to improve their wellness and to prevent disease, companies see their bottom lines improve."
Obama said the meeting was to gather "best practice" stories from health-conscious employers and use the information as part of healthcare reform discussions in Washington.
"There's no quick fix, there's no silver bullet," Obama said. "When you hear what (these) companies have done, what you've seen is sustained experimentation over many years and a shift in incentive structures ... ."
He praised several national companies and a union for deciding to provide incentives for employees and members to embrace a healthy lifestyle -- and helped reduce medical expenses as a result.
"Now, if we can do that in individual companies, there's no reason why we can't do that for a country as a whole." Obama said.