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Better Care Legislation a Positive Step in Fight Against the Growing Epidemic of Chronic Disease

Washington, D.C. (February 7, 2014) – The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) applauds the intent of the Better Care, Lower Cost Act to improve care for people with Medicare who live with chronic illness.The bipartisan, bi-cameral legislation introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN) recognizes that Medicare does not do enough to care for the majority of the program’s beneficiaries who suffer from multiple chronic conditions, and takes aim at the limitations of the traditional fee-for-service system that promotes fragmented care.“More than half of Medicare beneficiaries have five or more chronic conditions, reducing the quality of life for seniors and driving health care costs up significantly. Medicare beneficiaries with four or more chronic conditions are 99 times more likely to be hospitalized for a medical need that could have been prevented with appropriate primary care compared to beneficiaries without a chronic condition.” said PFCD Chairman Kenneth Thorpe, PhD. “As the bill recognizes, improving care coordination is critical to better treatment of chronic disease and more effective management of patients covered by both Medicare and Medicaid.”PFCD looks forward to working with Congress to assure that the “Better Care Plans” proposed in the Better Care, Lower Cost Act, help drive improved care coordination for Medicare beneficiaries. It is critical that as Congress works to define this new program it refines requirements to prepare participating providers to take on financial risk, ensure that these Plans do not undermine the competitive dynamics of the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, and preserve beneficiary protections and safeguards in existing Medicare programs - including those relating to benefits provided and beneficiary out-of-pocket costs.The Better Care, Lower Cost Act encourages a focus on the most vulnerable populations in Medicare – those living with multiple chronic conditions. In the bipartisan discussions that follow, we look forward to building on efforts to improve care and outcomes for Medicare patients while preserving existing patient protections.” said Thorpe. About the Partnership to Fight Chronic DiseaseThe Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international NGO 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: chronic, non communicable disease.For a collection of statistics and commentary on the impact of chronic disease, please visit