Several new reports were released this week that shed troublesome news on the financial state of our health care system as it pertains to insurers, providers and patients alike. Representing the three most significant population groups present in the health care “eco-system,” so to speak, it’s clear our need for sustainable health reform is more imminent than before.
The 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released today from the Alzheimer’s Association reveals the alarming health and economic toll of the disease – the cost of caring for the 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today will total $200 billion in 2012. And with 5.2 million of that number age 65 and older, our already overburdened Medicare and Medicaid systems will carry about 70 percent of those costs.
In The Hill last week, along with Representative Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-PA),PFCD’s Ken Thorpe highlighted the Fundamental Shift Needed in Our Approach to Tackling Health Care Spending and the Deficit. This strong bi-partisan statement addresses some of the challenges plaguing our health care system and highlights priorities and solutions that can make a marked difference in health care cost reduction. By rallying our elected officials in the fight against chronic disease, PFCD aims to bring both sides of the aisle to the table in order to develop new and support existing programs and policies that are effective and sustainable.
In follow-up to last week’s approval of the Payroll Tax Bill by the House and Senate, at the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) we feel it’s important to keep you updated of the ongoing dialogue around this latest development. As you may know, Congress’ temporary SGR fix came with a hefty budget reduction of $5 billion for the Prevention and Public Health Fund, an extension of the Affordable Care Act that provides crucial financial support for the prevention programs our health care system so direly needs.
Earlier this afternoon, both the House and Senate approved and sent the President the Conference Report for the Payroll Tax bill. The legislation included a temporary patch to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule preventing for 10 months a pending 27% cut in payment rates to physicians under Medicare. Unfortunately, much of the “pay for” came at the sacrifice of the Prevention and Public Health Fund – to the tune of $5 billion.
Earlier this week, Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA) held a hearing on delivery system reforms that reward physicians who deliver high quality and efficient care. At a time when our health care spending accounts for an overwhelming majority of the nation’s $3.7 trillion national deficit, the hearing was a rare, welcomed moment of bipartisan agreement in an environment otherwise fraught with partisan tension.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) last week issued a report on the growing impact of chronic diseases in the United States and how the incidence of these highly manageable and largely preventable conditions are approaching “crisis proportions.” Not only are they costly – the medical care costs of people afflicted with chronic diseases represent 75 percent of the $2 trillion in U.S. annual health care spending – but for those who suffer with them they are compromising the ability to live well.
Recognizing the large savings that can result from even the most seemingly small improvements in health outcomes, we at the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) were encouraged by this week’s news developments that lend support to the kinds of reform we advocate for on a daily basis.
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The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and...