On Thursday, former President Bill Clinton, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and Humana Chairman and CEO Mike McCallister spoke to some members of the media regarding the Humana Challenge, which was formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, in the Coachella Valley.
Instead of summarizing what was said, here is a transcript of the interview, so you can read their comments as they said them:
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, thank you all for being here. I'd like for Tim and Mike and I to just a say a few words and then we'll take questions.
I'm excited about this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I started playing golf years ago. I loved it. I have a lot of memories of the Hope tournament going over a very long period of time.
I think everyone knew there had to be some sort of reorganization in order to save it, and Tim got in touch with me and I know a fair number of golfers, and a lot of them have foundations, a lot of them are trying to do good things.
We thought this would be an opportunity to focus on the health and wellness of children, and that's a big part of what my foundation does now.
So when I was asked to be a part of it, I was excited. I was delighted that Humana wanted to come in as a sponsor, because in one of my projects, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, now 12,000 schools in America are trying to improve exercise and diet and those things. We also have tried to increase the number of young children who can have access to preventive health care to try to avoid the kind of problems that I and tons of other Americans face later in life.
And Humana was one of our first insurance partners agreeing to cover preventive trips to doctors and dietitians for these kids, and it had never been done before. Now we have a couple more kids with insurance coverage to provide that. But we're trying to push and get more people to do it. But it really pushed a lot of other insurers to look at the economics of this and see if they could do it.
So Tim and I have been friends since Jimmy Carter was president, and so we're excited about this. But as far as I know, the PGA (TOUR) has never done anything like this before. We're going to have Tuesday before the tournament begins Thursday, we're going to have a summit on the health of young people.
The PGA already does a lot of things for this, the First Tee Program, and a lot of the golfers themselves have foundation activities that are health related. So we're just trying to put it together to see if we can leverage it out and make something good happen.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, Mr. President. From the PGA Tour perspective, first of all, the Tour has been a great admirer of what the President has done since coming out of office with the foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative. And we felt that there may be something we could do together. So we started talking about that.
And at the same time Mike McCallister, Humana's been our official health care provider since 2005. They're our insurance provider. Mike has been very vocal about asking us whether there are ways that we could use our platform to communicate with people about wellness issues, generally, and so the two conversations kind of came together and led to this partnership.
I think it is a different direction for us, because historically our tournaments are organized for charity. We do an awful lot of things to support what they do for charity. They give knowledge to an awful lot of charitable causes. But we've never really taken an opportunity to reach our fan base with messaging that asks for change or things that would impact behavioral change.
I think everybody in this room is aware that our audience, our fan base is by far the strongest fan base when it comes to decision makers, corporate leaders, public sector leaders across the country. It's also a big fan base of 140 million Americans that tuned into our program at some point this year already.
So the capability is there, and then the challenge would be how could we do this? And the foundation has worked with Mike to refashion the week and worked with our tournament organization. Larry Thiel, the chairman of Desert Charities is here, and so the week has been changed in a number of ways.
First of all, there will be a number of things that happen during the week to remember Bob Hope and keep his spirit involved in the competition going forward. The week is now four rounds of golf. Three of the rounds are played leading into a cut on the fourth day, down from five rounds. You change partners every day with a different pro, so it's a terrific Pro?Am experience.
It's designed to work together for the foundation to attract the best people in the world for the conference, and also the best players and the best amateurs around the country who believe in this cause.
Then with our television partner, Mike McCarley, and we're delighted that our partnership with him has now been extended out to 2021, the Humana commitment is for eight of those years now. We have a long runway here to see what can be done year-in and year-out to challenge the country in certain areas or educate the country in terms of what's being done on these wellness issues.
It is a departure for us, but I must say we're really excited about it. At the PGA Tour, our employees for the first time this year entered into a new program with Humana called Tour Health. They all get scanned. It's voluntary, but over 90% of our employees now have been scanned. And their scannings identify health problems.
We estimate that our company and our employees will save almost a half million dollars in the first year because of that program.
So we like Humana, but we like what they're doing even more, and Mike is passionate about this, and I'll turn it over to him to give us his perspective.
MIKE McCALLISTER: Thanks, Tim. And thanks for the kind words, Mr. President. We've enjoyed working with you. Humana has been around for a long time. We're in our fifth decade now, and some form of health care over those years. We've been a health benefits company and health insurer for the last 15 or so on a stand?alone basis.
Through all those years and through all the things we've done and our work that we do today, it's become quite clear to us that the concept of health, fitness, and well being is going to have to be at the core of changing what's happening in this country from a health care cost perspective, and from a personal health perspective.
No one has found the magic formula yet, but, ultimately, it's behavior change among people to start taking charge of their own health. It's a serious problem with kids. It's already a serious problem with adults, and we're already at the point where we're over 30%, you have the data specifically, I'm sure, of young children that are already obese or on their way to that.