Help future policy focus on health

An Open Letter to the 2016 Presidential Candidates

Thank you for considering adding your name to an open letter to the Presidential candidates urging them to address the growing burden of chronic disease in America as a pathway to building wealth in America.  An opportunity to add your name to the letter is provided at the bottom of the page.  The letter will be provided to all of the Presidential candidates and will appear in its entirety in newspaper advertisements including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Washington Post.  We do plan to include the information provided under “organization” in the signature form provided below.  

Anywhere the letter appears, it will include the following disclaimer:  This letter is signed by the individuals listed in his or her personal capacity.  The opinions expressed are the signers' own and do not reflect the view of the organization(s) with which that individual is affiliated. Signing the letter does not express or imply support for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease or its policies.
As people sign onto the letter, their names will be visible on this page which is updated regularly.
Deadline for adding your signature is: March 1, 2016.

Dear Presidential Candidates,
Chronic disease has a direct impact on the wealth of America: health is wealth, and chronic disease costs American society immensely. Our nation’s leaders have a viable, profound opportunity to build wealth by improving health.

Seven out of ten American deaths are due to chronic diseases such as COPD, heart disease and cancer. One in two Americans lives with at least one chronic conditioni.  Nearly half of U.S. adults have diabetes or pre-diabetesii – more than double the number just thirty years ago.iii  Rising rates of chronic disease do not only affect adults. In fact, fueled by the obesity epidemic, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among American children age 19 and younger grew by 30 percent from 2001-2009.iv

Treating people with chronic conditions accounts for 86 percent of the nearly $3 trillion we spend on health care a year.v   Alzheimer’s disease and dementia alone currently cost $200 billion per year – and this is expected to double by  The implications for public spending are striking: within Medicare, people with multiple chronic conditions account for 93 percent of total spending. 

Moreover, the direct health care costs associated with chronic disease are only a slice of the problem.  Chronic illnesses, including behavioral health conditions, directly affect the U.S. economy through lost productivity, missed work days, disability, and premature death.  Today, nearly one in two working age adults age 45 to 64 have more than one chronic condition.vii  Cardiovascular disease alone was projected to cost America $216 billion in lost productivity in 2015; if current trends continue, this is projected to increase to $304 billion per year by 2030.viii

But perhaps the most important – and unmeasured  costs of chronic disease are the hardships caused by instances of avoidable disability and loss of life that disrupt families, burden caregivers, and exact a personal toll on those who lose loved ones. The value to American society of reducing the impact of chronic disease far exceeds the costs of health care and reduced productivity.

Determining the most effective strategy and allocation of resources to reduce the burden of chronic disease is a challenge, but the potential payoff is immense. Reducing mortality from heart disease or cancer by just one percent is worth as much as $628 billion dollars – over 3.5% of annual GDP.ix  Our next President should seize the opportunity to reset the agenda and generate American wealth by promoting Americans’ health.


Add your name and help us fight chronic disease
Fill out the form below to sign the open letter to presidential candidates.


Jason Hockenberry
Associate Professor
Emory University
Helen Levy
Research Associate Professor
University of Michigan
Tomas Philipson, PhD
Daniel Levin Professor of Public Policy
Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy and the Becker Friedman Institute, University of Chicago
Samuel Richardson
Associate Professor of the Practice of Economics
Boston College
Hayden Bosworth
Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing
Duke University
Barbara Wolfe
Heather Schofield
Assistant Professor
University of Pennsylvania
Sherry Glied
Dean of Public Service
NYU Wagner
Timothy McBride
Washington University
Bradley Herring
Associate Professor of Health Economics
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
John Mullahy
University of Wisconsin
Nicole Maestas
Associate Professor of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
Harvard University
Timothy Dall
Managing Director
IHS Inc.
Susan Busch
Yale University
Kathryn Martell
Central Washington University
Jeremy Barofsky
Visiting Fellow
Brookings Institute
Ken Thorpe
Chairman, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
Professor and Chair at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University
Benjamin Sommers
Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Economics
Harvard University
Kathryn Mavengere
Nellie Realejo
Service Manager
Grossman Marketing
Wayne Su
IHS Inc.
Carrie Colla
Assistant Professor
Dartmouth College
Christopher Mann
Assistant Professor of Practice
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
David Grabowski
Harvard University
David Agus
Director, USC Westside Cancer Center and Center for Applied and Molecular Medicine Professor of Medicine and Engineering
University of Southern California
Marisa Domino
UNC Chapel Hill
Erzo F.P. Luttmer
Professor of Economics
Dartmouth College
Jason Abrevaya
Professor and Department Chair, Economics
University of Texas, Austin
Amy Davidoff
Senior Research Scientist
Yale School of Public Health
Thomas Valuck MD, JD
Discern Health
Martin Andersen
Assistant Professor
UNC Greensboro
Timothy Jost
Emeritus Professor
Washington and Lee
Avi Dor
George Washington University
Kenneth Warner
Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health
University of Michigan
Beth Truett
President & CEO
Oral Health America
Susan Ettner
Benjamin Hansen
Associate Professor of Economics
University of Oregon
Ritashree Chakrabarti
IHS Inc.
José Págan
Director, Center for Health Innovation, The New York Academy of Medicine
Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD,
Director, LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics; Professor, Perelman School of Medicine and Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Eric S. Maskin
Adams University Professor
Harvard University
Dana Goldman, PhD
Distinguished Professor and Leonard D. Schaeffer Director's Chair
Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California
Mike Storm
Senior Consultant
IHS Inc.
David Hutton
Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy
University of Michigan
Jason Abaluck
Yale University
Assistant Professor
Brandon Vick
Assistant Professor of Economics
Indiana U of PA
Mireille Jacobson
Associate Professor and Director Center for Health Care Management and Policy, The Paul Merage School of Business
University of California, Irvine
Mahmud Hassan
Professor, Finance & Economics , Director, Pharmaceutical Management, and Lerner Center
Rutgers University
Paul Hebert
Research Associate Professor
University of Washington School of Public Health
John Moran
Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration/Ph.D. Graduate Programs
Penn State University
Bisakha Sen
Thomas Rice
Distinguished Professor
Joseph Seneca
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Rutgers University
Richard Zeckhauser
Ramsey Professor of Political Economy
Harvard University
Alan Monheit
Professor of Health Economics, Chair Department of Health Systems and Policy, Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs
Rutgers University School of Public Health
John Clymer
Institute for Health Policy & Leadership at Loma Linda University
Randall P Ellis
Boston University
Claudia Goldin
Henry Lee Professor of Economics
Harvard University
John Holahan
Institute Fellow
The Urban Institute
Kenneth Langa
Cyrus Sturgis Professor Medicine
University of Michigan and Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System
Derek Brown
Assistant Professor of Health Economics & Public Health
Washington University
Michael Grossman
City University of New York
David Ault
Professor Emeritus
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Justin Trogdon
Associate Professor
UNC - Chapel Hill
David Cutler
Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics
Harvard University
John Navin
RSN Economic Group Inc.
Ellen Meara
Associate Professor of Health Policy and Clinical Practice
Dartmouth College
Dora Costa
Professor of Economics
Lauren Nicholas
Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health & School of Medicine
Douglas Holtz-Eakin
American Action Forum
Henry Brown
Associate Professor
University of Texas School of Public Health
Guy David
Associate Professor of Health Care Management
The Wharton School
Jill Horwitz
Professor of Law
William Lacobucci
IHS Inc.
Hefei Wen
Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Health Economics
University of Kentucky
Beth Truett
President & CEO
Oral Health America
Robert Huckman
Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Business Administration
Harvard University
M. Christopher Roebuck
President & CEO
RxEconomics LLC
John Deskins
Director, Bureau of Business and Economic Research
West Virginia University
Paul Hughes-Cromwick
Co-Director, Center for Sustainable Health Spending
Altarum Institute
Vivian Ho
Baker Institute Chair in Health Economics
Rice University
Darius Lakdawalla, PhD
Quintiles Chair in Pharmaceutical Development and Regulatory Innovation
Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, University of Southern California
Donald Yett
University of Southern California
Karen Eggleston
Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University
John Clymer
Institute for Health Policy and Leadership at Loma Linda University
Daniel Polsky PhD
Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Professor of Medicine and Health Care Management, Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Murray Sabrin
Professor of Finance
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Jalpa Doshi, PhD
Associate Professor, Director, Economic Evaluations Unit, Center for Evidence-Based Practice
University of Pennsylvania
Thomas McGuire
Professor of Health Economics
Harvard University
Ian McCarthy
Assistant Professor of Economics
Emory University
Gerard Anderson
Professor and Director of Center for Hospital Finance and Management
Johns Hopkins University
Alex Brill
Research Fellow
American Enterprise Institute
Charles Begley
Professor, Management, Policy, and Community Health
University of Texas School of Public Health
David Frisvold
Department of Economics
University of Iowa
Philip Cook
Professor of Public Policy
Duke University

iCDC, Chronic Disease Overview. iiMenke A, Casagrande S, Geiss L, Cowie CC. Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the United States, 1988-2012. JAMA. 2015; 314(10):1021-1029. iiiElvin E, Parrinello CM, Sacks DB, Coresh J. Trends in Prevalence and Control of Diabetes in the United States, 1988–1994 and 1999–2010. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014; 160(8):517-525. ivDabelea D, Mayer-Davis E, et al. Prevalence of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Among Children and Adolescents from 2001 to 2009. JAMA. 2014; 311(17):1178-1786. vCDC, Chronic Disease Overview; CMS, National Health Expenditure Data, 2014. viHurd MD, Martorell P, Delavande A, Mullen KJ, Langa KM.. Monetary Costs of Dementia in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013; 368(14): 1326-1334. viiAHRQ, Multiple Chronic Conditions Chartbook: 2010 MEPS Data. viiiHeidenreich PA, Trogdon JG, et al. AHA Policy Statement: Forecasting the Future of Cardiovascular Disease in the United States: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123:933-944 (Figures adjusted to 2015 USD).  ix Murphy KM, Topel RH. The Value of Health and Longevity. Journal of Political Economy. 2006; 114(5): 871-904 (figures adjusted to 2015 USD); 2014 World Bank Data: United States.