Saturday, May 19, 2007

Trouble in Detroit Is An MDB-UAW Opportunity

BusinessWeek magazine had an interesting story about the plight of the big U.S. auto makers and a "deal that could save Detroit". As I read I was reminded of just how timely the launch of the Million Dollar Body Network is for the people who seize this opportunity to become a coach.

MDB was built to help people, and as the proud members of the UAW consider their options during turbulent times, taking their health and wellness into their own hands, member by member, is now more meaningful to the overall survival of the US auto industry than ever.

The BW article by David Welch and Nanette Byrnes outlines how beleaguered GM, Ford, and Chrysler have a crisis in the form of an estimated $120 billion in long term employee medical liabilities. Chrysler's current obligations to health care and pension benefits cost $1,500 per car according to former Chrysler chairman Lee Iaccoca!

A proposed solution to keep car makers viable is the creation of a trust to be run by the United Auto Workers union (UAW), whereby the union and its membership would assume more control over its health care costs, and also reap the investment benefits achieved. There is a downside risk to UAW members if the UAW doesn't manage the trust well, or if health care costs rise faster than investment returns. But there is an advantage that the UAW has which their employer (auto makers) do not; the ability to directly motivate and reward it membership for living a healthier lifestyle.

What I am saying is likely over-simplified analysis. But it is clear that rising health care costs in the US come from a combination of overall declining health (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) caused generally by lethargy, poor diet habits, stress, an aging population, etc, and incredible developments in treatments which cost money. We all have an expectation that any treatment will be available to us when we need it, regardless of the price. People also expect health insurance to shoulder those costs.

But when you look at the general declining fitness and diet of the country, it is clear that the majority of us are not thinking it through that "insurance" is not a "them" who pays our bills, it is the collective "all of us" who pays. Based on the rise of obesity in the country, few of us feel real accountability for making lifestyle choices that could ease the strain on the system (not to mention helping us feel better and live a healthy, more fulfilling life.)

Living an active lifestyle including fitness is not a drug that can be described. Making smarter food choices is not a program the government can regulate. These are choices we make, which are defining the state of health care.

Enter the Million Dollar Body Network. Here's a community of people who are helping each other stay accountable to their diet and fitness goals. Coaches earn a commission on sales generated from new people they introduce to the community, plus they earn commissions from current Beachbody customers whom they help to stay motivated. Thousands of people are losing weight and getting in shape at Million Dollar Body and as such, improving their health and wellness. That means they are actually having a direct impact on reducing health care costs and the demand for higher insurance premiums for the companies they work for - and those lower insurance premiums benefits everyone.

So there's Detroit - a microcosm for learning how we can turn around the crisis in rising health care costs. The survival-threatening reliance on corporate-supplied health insurance can be mitigated if not eliminated by the UAW if they take on the role of improving the health of their membership. (And I would propose that change can be as fast as 90 days for some, 6 weeks for others)

UAW membership who has been adversely affected by the competitive disadvantages faced by US auto makers in a global economy can take action by living a healthier lifestyle as individuals and through mutual support to achieve a new level of health as a community. Just like we are achieving within the Million Dollar Body community, the UAW will feel better, perform better on the job, and be in control of their destiny.

Your life, that body, is yours to take care of. The costs of taking care of your body are your responsibility. If you have a job which helps offset the expense of your health care as a benefit, congratulations. But in the end, the choices and habits that govern your well being are yours. And the ability to make a dramatic effect on improving your personal well being, and likewise, reducing the cost of maintaining that wellness, is also yours.

That is the message and mantra of the Million Dollar Network: YOU are in control of your health and fitness.

If you are an MDB coach, or are considering becoming an MDB coach, and you know someone in the UAW, I would start a conversation with people within its membership. We can help them feel better, and reduce the strain on their health care budgets for less than the price of one fill-up of an SUV.

If you are a member of the UAW, I would recommend you become part of the solution, become an MDB coach and start recruiting your fellow members to help them improve the health of the membership through active participation in a healthier lifestyle.

If I want things to change, it starts with me. If you want things to change, it starts with you. If you are a member of the UAW, and you want things to change, it starts with you - and you in this case is each member who wants the US auto industry to be competitive. As we stop relying on a "them" to solve out problems, we become empowered, and then we have options. But you need to decide to change things. You need to have the courage to succeed. And you need to commit to that decision. That's commitment to your self.

Once you've made the decision to improve your life, then you can decide to help others, and as a coach, you can profit by doing so in every way. And the rest is a revolution in your health, and the health of our country.

We all want the US auto manufacturers and the UAW to get through this tough period to remain highly competitive and well-compensated. After reading this Business Week article, I believe the UAW can make a dramatic impact by taking control of its destiny, and encouraging its membership to live a healthy lifestyle.

And the community of Million Dollar Body can help.

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