Philosophy The Business of Healthcare

How Soon Will Hijacked Fairness Be Coming to Healthcare?


In places where fairness is judged by outcome, not opportunity, it soon takes on a surreal twist. Take France, for example. Or maybe Sacramento.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Sephora, the cosmetic chain, has been told by the French courts that it can no longer keep its flagship Paris store, on the Champs-Elysees, open past 9:00 p.m. Why? It wouldn’t be fair to the workers.

The 58 store employees working the late shift are protesting – against the closure order – they like working the late shift.

And Sephora, which has almost as many visitors per year at their Champs-Elysees store as does the Eiffel Tower, around 3 million, does 20% of its business after 9:00 p.m. It may have to lay off 45 employees if it is forced to close early.

You see, the union and the government do not like the idea of workers, any workers, being made to work late. It’s not good for “the social fabric of the family.” Even if the workers working late like it. Even if the employer can only employ them because of nighttime sales.

In the top down world, there is a disincentive to get ahead. Caps and controls and, as Sephora has seen, courts.

There’s tremendous pressure in that world pushing down those that want to get ahead, those that don’t simply want to be mediocre, those that bridle at the notion of just being good enough to collect a paycheck but no more.

As healthcare becomes more consolidated, especially in terms of the growing hospital-centric “alignment” of physicians, will physician unions, those that already exist or new ones, begin to demand that physicians be treated “fairly?” Eight, or perhaps six, hour workdays. No weekends, of course. No more physician abuse. Will doctors in the United States, as they have done in Canada, picket in front of hospitals wearing their white lab coats?

What’s the real cost to society? What’s the real cost to your self esteem?

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