New Obesity Numbers

It was a few short weeks ago that I last wrote about new data illustrating the rising obesity rates in the U.S. and their impact on health spending. As I write today about another recent comprehensive obesity study, I’m glad to see that this public health crisis continues to be a focus for policymakers and researchers alike.

A new study by Brookings researcher Ross Hammond estimates that the total costs of obesity in the U.S. may exceed $215 billion annually.

New Data Shows Prevention Works

A recent Health Affairs article finds that increasing the use of 20 proven clinical preventive services (including tobacco cessation screening, alcohol abuse screening, and daily aspirin use) from current levels to 90 percent in 2006 could avert the loss of more than two million life-years annually and result in total savings of $3.7 billion, or 0.2 percent of U.S.

Eliminating the Prevention and Wellness Fund is penny wise, pound foolish

There has been a lot of recent buzz in the health care community and on Capitol Hill about the Prevention and Wellness Fund and how its financial resources will be allocated. The Fund finances many significant prevention and wellness initiatives and delivery system reforms, including access to care, health IT and care coordination.

The Specifics of Prevention in PPACA

Assistant Secretary for Health David Koh and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius published an article yesterday in NEJM about the importance of prevention and wellness and how PPACA helps “individuals, worksites, communities, and the nation at large" to live well.

I’d like to take a moment and applaud Koh and Sebelius for explaining in detail exactly how PPACA improves preventive care in the U.S.

Hospitals Improving Patient Care via Care Coordination Efforts

Great Marketwatch article by Anya Martin about increased care coordination efforts made by hospitals and required by PPACA, “Hospitals take steps to keep patients safe -- and at home.”

Preventable hospital readmissions put patients at increased risk and drive up health spending, especially in Medicare. In fact, it’s predicted that preventable hospital readmissions that occur within a 30-day window will add $250 billion to Medicare spending over the next 10 years.

Care Coordination is Common Sense

A recent Fortune article, “Common sense saves Illinois $140 million in health care costs,” discusses the cost saving evidence of community health teams and coordinated care. As the title states, care coordination is common sense. Not only does it save lives and improve the quality of care delivered to patients, its cost savings are substantial.

PPACA Examples of Success

The White House Office of Public Engagement on the Affordable Care Act is seeking "real life" examples of individuals benefiting from implementation of PPACA (i.e. those getting preventive care who were previously unable to do so).

Trust for America's Health is collecting examples. Please send all examples to and PFCD will pass them along. Be sure to include where they're from, contact information, etc.

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