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PFCD Experts Cite Health Care as Next Financial Casualty on Horizon

Thompson, Thorpe Call on Nation's Leaders to Address Rising Health Care Costs

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, co-chair of the Wisconsin chapter of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), and PFCD Executive Director Ken Thorpe warn that the U.S. government is ignoring an even larger impending crisis in the U.S. health care system.

"Right now, while everyone is looking at the economic downturn and the bailout, the same thing has got to be taken care of, and it's just as immediate, and that's the reformation of health care in America and dealing with chronic illness," said Thompson.

"I realize there is some concern in some quarters that given the current economic state of our budget and overall economy that taking on health care may be too much. I would argue exactly the opposite. The bottom line is that failure to act on making health care more affordable both for private insurance and for Medicare is a recipe for long-term disaster. In fact, the economic downturn has made paying attention to the issue of health care reform in 2009 and even more important priority," Thorpe said.

Thompson and Thorpe emphasize that health reform is something that we cannot afford not to tackle in the current economic environment -- and that fighting chronic disease is the best way to tackle rising costs.

"People are angry and frustrated with the inactivity of health care reform - we need a bipartisan approach and solutions to address this problem," said Thorpe. "I think making health care more affordable by reducing the prevalence of chronic disease and more effectively managing it is going to become center stage in 2009. As people look at the looming impact chronic disease has on the federal budget, on employers and on individual households they will realize that these problems are just too big to ignore."

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, are responsible for seven out of 10 deaths and 75 percent of every health care dollar spent in the U.S. These are conditions that could either be effectively prevented or minimized through simple, low-cost disease prevention and management programs.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The PFCD is a national coalition of more than 100 patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: poorly prevented and mismanaged chronic disease.

The PFCD's mission is to:

-- Challenge policymakers - in particular, the 2008 presidential candidates

- to make fighting chronic disease a top priority and discuss how they

will address it in their health care proposals

-- Educate the public about chronic disease and potential solutions for

individuals, communities, and the nation

-- Mobilize Americans to call for change in how policymakers, governments,

employers, health institutions, and other entities approach chronic


For more information about the PFCD and its partner organizations, please visit:

SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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