U.S. Spending on Chronic Disease Now Equal to Nation’s Annual Federal Deficit

Washington, DC (August 26, 2009) -- The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease announced today that the amount of money spent each year in the U.S. treating patients with one or more chronic diseases ($1.65 trillion) is nearly identical to the nation’s federal deficit, which the White House estimates will approach $1.6 trillion this year.

"With these estimates comes new perspective on the depth of our nation’s chronic disease crisis, as well as on the economic benefit of better preventing and managing these conditions," said Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD). "As the President and Congress look for ways to achieve comprehensive health reform while controlling the federal deficit, no area shows more promise for cost savings than that of chronic disease prevention and management."

In a July letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the PFCD called for Congressional leadership to adopt value-driven policies designed to tackle rising rates of costly chronic diseases. Specifically, the group urged Congress to:

  • Include care coordination in Medicare, such as community health teams;
  • Tie Medicare payments to the quality of care received, not the quantity of care;
  • Support primary prevention of chronic disease by stimulating growth and participation in workplace, community and school wellness programs;
  • Remove barriers patients face to effective treatment and management of chronic illness; and,
  • Streamline administrative health care costs to reduce unnecessary spending.

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: www.fightchronicdisease.org.