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PFCD Urges Congress to Address Real Cost-Driver in Health Reform in Light of New CBO Statement

CBO Announcement Says Current Legislation Does Not Include Cost-control Efforts, Costs Will Increase

WASHINGTON, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to a recent announcement by CBO Director Douglass Elmendorf about current legislative drafts proposed by the Senate and House, the PFCD urges Congress to address the number-one driver of health care costs in the U.S. -- chronic disease.

"The Senate HELP and House Ways and Means Committee drafts of the Affordable Health Choices Act include several critical reforms that will improve the quality of care delivered in our country, but do not adequately address rising health care costs nor provide the financial and structural means to sustain a reform of this magnitude," said Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., PFCD Executive Director. "We must focus on disease prevention and wellness in order to reduce unnecessary -- and often preventable -- costs and create a sustainable health care system."

The PFCD advocates for prevention and care coordination measures such as community health teams and transitional care models, to prevent and manage costly chronic disease.

"There is a growing body of evidence that prevention programs improve health outcomes and lead to better value per dollar invested in health care," said Thorpe. "To ignore this evidence would be detrimental to the health and economic stability of the country."

"We hope that as other Senate and House committees continue through mark ups, they will make certain that their bills contain adequate measures to address the economic burden of chronic disease and control costs in order to ensure the passage of comprehensive, sustainable health care reform legislation in 2009."

Chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, account for 75 percent of every health care dollar spent in the U.S. 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. Chronic diseases are the number one cause of death and leading driver of rising health care costs in America. These are conditions that, with proper early intervention, diet, and exercise, could be prevented, delayed, or minimized. More than 130 million Americans today have a chronic disease.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national and state-based 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:

SOURCE Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
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