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Why Health Care Is an Issue We Cannot Afford to Ignore

55,000 Americans and Nearly 100 Economists Agree We Need to Fight Chronic Disease
Americans across the country are keeping a careful eye on the presidential election as the primary season enters its final phase. Health care broadly has been important to voters for years, more recently Americans have been most concerned about the health care costs they face personally.
Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation recently took to the Wall Street Journal to note a shift in health care as a priority for voters. He explains that health care, “is a more salient issue for some voting groups than others. And a broad constellation of health issues, not only the Affordable Care Act, are likely to have traction in the general election, particularly among women.” He’s correct, particularly when it comes to addressing health care costs. That is exactly why more than 55,000 Americans and nearly 100 economists agree chronic disease is a key issue political leaders need to address in order to tackle health care costs.
In letters to all presidential campaigns, nearly 100 top economists write, “Treating people with chronic conditions accounts for 86 percent of the nearly $3 trillion we spend on health care a year. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia alone currently cost $200 billion per year – and this is expected to double by 2040. The implications for public spending are striking: within Medicare, people with multiple chronic conditions account for 93 percent of total spending.”
Moreover, chronic disease patients are the single largest voting bloc in the United States. Beyond just the cost of treating patients with chronic disease, which is extraordinary, this health issue impacts communities all across the country. The economists explain, “The value to American society of reducing the impact of chronic disease far exceeds the costs of health care and reduced productivity.”
While the outcome of the presidential primaries is not yet known, one thing is clear:
Chronic disease is a top issue for Americans all across the country and whoever our next president is must have a plan for better treatment and prevention so we can change course, save lives and save money.