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New Report Emphasizes Critical Role of Including Early and Preventative Care for Women in Health Care Reform
Date:6/15/2009

COMPREHENSIVE CARE FOR WOMEN OVER THEIR LIFESPAN COULD EASE SKYROCKETING COST OF CHRONIC ILLNESSES

WASHINGTON, June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Delivering care for women with chronic illness costs the United States billions of dollars and affects countless lives, according to a new study. It makes the case that providing women with preventive and primary care services over their lifespan can ultimately yield large cost savings while greatly improving women's health.

The report, from the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, entitled Women's Health and Healthcare Reform: The Economic Burden of Disease In Women, highlights the skyrocketing direct and indirect costs of major chronic conditions facing women today. It recommends that health care reform include measures to guarantee women access to preventive and primary care services over their entire lifespan, especially in the reproductive years.

Most health care costs for American women involve treatment of chronic illness. Cardiovascular disease, for example, affects 43 million U.S. women from childhood through old age and imposes direct costs estimated at $162 billion dollars in 2009. Depression, osteoporosis and diabetes also bear large annual cost burdens of $20 billion, $14 billion and $58 billion respectively, the report says. Breast cancer medical costs are estimated to be over $9 billion this year.

"When I came to Congress, women's health care wasn't a national priority. I fought to change this. As more women Senators joined me over the years, we've been able to make a real difference," Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) said. "But, as this new report shows, there's still more to be done. Better access to early prevention, detection and treatment of chronic diseases will improve women's overall health and save millions of taxpayer dollar
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SOURCE Jacobs Institute of Women's Health
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