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National Partnership Releases Principles for Meaningful Health Reform
Date:1/27/2009

Non-partisan group emphasizes economic imperative of addressing chronic disease crisis

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today urged President Obama and Congress to make health reform a top priority, outlining the critical components of reform efforts. Topping its list of "Principles for Meaningful Health Reform," the PFCD urged leaders to realign incentives in the health care system to encourage chronic disease prevention and management.

"As our country faces an obesity epidemic and the worst economic downturn in a generation, effectively preventing and managing chronic disease is no longer simply an ideal - it is a national imperative," said Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., Executive Director of PFCD, and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. "Until we get chronic disease under control, we will never be able to control U.S. spending on health care and make care more affordable."

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths and 75 percent of the $2.2 trillion spent on health care in the United States each year. More than 130 million Americans today have a chronic disease, many of which could either be effectively prevented or minimized through simple, low-cost disease prevention and management programs that would eliminate, not just shift, costs from the U.S. health care system. The annual economic impact on the U.S. economy of the seven most common chronic diseases is calculated to be $1.3 trillion, which could balloon to nearly $6 trillion by the middle of the century.

The other reform principles outlined by the group, which include incentivizing health care quality improvements, elimination of health disparities, promotion of community health intervention, and translating "best practices" research into action, also aim to stem the tide of chronic illness in the U.S. Health reform that aligns with these principles will have a dramatic impact on Americans' health and pocket book.

"The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is making a concerted effort to educate and work with President Obama and members of Congress on the issue of chronic disease, and to ensure the health of the American people and the American economy," said Thorpe. "Encouraging and empowering health care payers, providers and individuals to better prevent, detect and treat chronic diseases before they become an acute problem will have far reaching implications in saving both lives and dollars."

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease. For more information about the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit: http://www.fightchronicdisease.org.


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SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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