The media-verse is abuzz with discussions on a variety of working families issues in the wake of recent comments by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong about employee benefits.
Armstrong organized a company-wide conference call for his employees to explain why AOL had decided to scale-back employer-matching contributions on its 401(k) program, and he explained that healthcare costs in particular were responsible for the decision. A very specific reference to “distressed babies” has ignited a firestorm of debate on health care insurance coverage, the high costs of neonatal care, employer-employee privacy (most AOL employees were easily able to identify the parents of the babies mentioned), and insensitivity to working parents, among myriad other issues. The mother of one of the aforementioned “distressed babies” penned a response article in Slate, where she explained:
“Yes, we had a preemie in intensive care. This was certainly not our intention. While he’s at it, why not call out the women who got cancer? The parents of kids with asthma? These rank among the nation’s most expensive medical conditions. Would anyone dare to single out these people for simply availing themselves of their health benefits?