Ken Thorpe's blog

Obesity – Worse than Cancer?

In an interview with CBS News last weekend, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called obesity data “alarming.”  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one-third of American adults are overweight, and another third are obese.  Sebelius says the epidemic impacts our costs, quality of life, and economic productivity.  She asserts, “we are really putting ourselves at a huge disadvantage in a global economy by having a nation that is vastly overweight."

Sebel

If We Were Healthier, We’d Be Wealthier

As the Senate and House consider what to include in a final health reform package, now is a good time to revisit the issue of how current proposals address the high and growing cost of health care.

I had the opportunity to comment on this issue twice in the past week:

In a Denver Post piece Michael Riley explores the degree to which Congress has stuck to one of health reform’s basic goals: “instituting widely agreed upon ideas that would curb runaway inflation in the cost of delivering care.” To put it nicely, my be

Care Coordination is Clutch in Health Reform

In a recent Health Affairs blog post, Lydia Ogden, Chief of Staff and Administrator of Emory University’s Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions and Center for Entitlement Reform, and I provide a detailed explanation of how care coordination in traditional fee-for-service Medicare—specifically community health teams (CHTs)—would greatly reduce health care costs and provide better health outcomes by adequately addressing and preventing chronic disease.

I feel strongly that

Health Care Reform To Do List

Over the past week and a half I have had the opportunity to discuss health care reform and share my thoughts on what I consider top priorities on a number of news programs (see CNN, Fox Business and Fox and Friends).

Say "Yes" to Health Reform

Today, we launched “Say ‘Yes’ to Health Reform” – a Web-based video campaign featuring testimonials of Americans from across the country who are supporting health reform that helps to combat our problems with chronic illness and help improve prevention, wellness and disease management.

 
I had the opportunity to post about these “video postcards” on the Huffington Post, and I hope this campaign generates some a

"A la carte" approach to prevention and care coordination

At the PFCD’s third quarterly advisory board meeting, which was held earlier this week, we discussed the prevention, disease management and care coordination provisions in the current bills (Senate HELP, Senate Finance and House Tri-Committee).
 
One point I’d like to share from that discussion was the notion that the current legislation as it is evolving is taking an "a la carte " approach, with some functions like transitional care provided as a stand-alone benefit, and others such as community health teams and other forms of medical homes that include all these functions combined and full

Thoughts on Senate Finance bill

Yesterday, Chairman Max Baucus unveiled the highly anticipated Senate Finance Committee health care reform proposal, “America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009.” While some groups have voiced disapproval, many believe that it was worth the wait. 

Personally, I believe the release of Baucus’s Mark steers us in the right direction along the road to reform by including changes that will help to stem the steep rise in health care costs.  In particular, I’m encouraged by several provisions that place great emphasis on promoting chronic disease prevention and wellness.

Weight of Our Nation: Comments on NYT Op-ed on Obesity

In last week’s New York Times, Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” wrote an op-ed on our nation’s obesity epidemic, a subject that I addressed last week in a joint Newsweek op-ed with Christine Ferguson, head of the STOP Obesity Alliance.

Pollan talks about the health and economic toll that obesity is taking on the U.S. and its impact on our ability to control health care costs.

Closer look at Senate Finance framework

President Obama made many important points in his speech last night, not the least of which was the need to deliver higher quality health care for better value. Looking at the Senate Finance Committee framework released earlier this week, there’s a lot in here that will help to improve quality and lower cost.

The Next 100 Days

Earlier today, I participated in press briefing - "The Next 100 Days: Some Final Hurdles in Health Reform"– held at the National Press Club.

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