Kelly Services CEO Urges Reform to Cover Nation's 45 Million Uninsured
Flexible System Is Needed to Reflect Today's Mobile Work ForceTROY, MI, Apr 23, 2007 -- As Cover the Uninsured Week 2007 sharpens the focus on the nearly 45 million Americans who do not have health insurance, the head of leading staffing company Kelly Services (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB) today urged changes in the traditional link between health care coverage and employer sponsorship.
"Americans must accept the fact that the system we have all known for generations is dead. As a nation, we need to demand a more flexible system that reflects the realities of today's mobile work force and provides access to group coverage outside the traditional employment relationship," insisted Carl Camden, president and chief executive officer of Kelly Services, Inc.
"Dependence on employer-provided health care is leaving millions of non-traditional workers without quality, affordable health insurance coverage and keeping untold numbers of individuals locked into unsatisfactory jobs solely for health insurance purposes."
CoverTheUninsured.org, which is promoting Cover the Uninsured Week from April 23 to 29, cites research indicating that more than 80 percent of the non-elderly uninsured live in families where the head of the family works.
Camden noted that the current system dates from an era when most American workers were in traditional employer-employee relationships. Today, he said, that system shortchanges the more than 22 million American workers who are by choice "free agents" -- freelancers, contract and temporary workers, independent consultants and entrepreneurs.
At its core, this is not only a health care issue; it is a competitive disadvantage for U.S. companies and workers alike. Job-locked employees are less productive because they are held captive by employment they do not like or cannot perform well, simply because it is their only option for health insurance.
"These men and women, whose numbers will continue to increase in the future, suffer the tangible, real-world disadvantages imposed by our current approach," Camden declared. "The tax system treats them unfairly by forcing them to purchase health insurance with after-tax dollars. And then the insurance system compounds the problem by relegating them to the expensive individual market and by making it difficult for them to otherwise qualify for group rates."
Kelly Services is a founding member of the "Better Health Care Together" campaign, which earlier this year issued four "common sense principles for achieving a new American health care system by 2012." Those principles are:
-- We believe every person in America must have quality, affordable health insurance coverage; -- We believe individuals have a responsibility to maintain and protect their health; -- We believe that America must dramatically improve the value it receives for every health care dollar; and -- We believe that businesses, governments and individuals all should contribute to managing and financing a new American health care system.
"At Kelly Services, we are pleased to take a leadership role among business, labor and civic organizations committed to making health care reform a reality," said Camden. "Our challenge is to increase access to the health care system and to ensure that outcomes here are as consistently positive as in other countries. We look forward to helping shape the debate and fixing a health care system that is hopelessly broken."
About Kelly Services
Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB) is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Troy, Mich., offering staffing solutions that include temporary staffing services, outsourcing, vendor on-site and full-time placement. Kelly operates in 32 countries and territories. Kelly provides employment to more than 750,000 employees annually, with skills including office services, accounting, engineering, information technology, law, science, marketing, creative services, light industrial, education, and health care. Revenue in 2006 was $5.6 billion. Visit www.kellyservices.com.
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SOURCE: Kelly Services, Inc.