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FACT: Healthy Behavior and Better Treatment Critical to Lowering Health Care Costs


New research uncovers potential for 16 million saved lives, $6.3 trillion in savings

Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2016) The impact of chronic disease ripples throughout each state across the country. New research commissioned by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) and conducted by IHS projects 16 million lives saved and $6.3 trillion in savings from increased investment in the promotion of healthy behaviors, health care access and delivery improvements, and development of better treatments for chronic disease. Attainable improvements could dramatically reduce the devastating human and economic toll of chronic disease: the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S. 
More than 190 million Americans, or about 59 percent of the population, are affected by one or more chronic diseases1.  Having one chronic condition can increase the risk of developing another.  Without change, the number of people with three or more chronic diseases is expected to increase to 83 million by 2030, and overall costs will accumulate to more than $42 trillion

“This research quantifies what we face on our current path and demonstrates how healthy behaviors and better treatments can reduce that toll – potentially preventing 169 million cases of costly chronic disease and saving 16 million lives. Health care reforms aimed at promoting healthy behaviors, improving access to care, and accelerating treatment advances can and will prevent the development and progression of chronic disease and benefit all Americans,” noted Ken Thorpe, PFCD chairman. 

The PFCD/IHS research findings are based on an analysis that projected the potential impact of improved lifestyle changes, access and care delivery improvements, and treatment advances on future direct medical expenditures, long term care, productivity losses, and labor force participation, among other factors.  The analysis applied micro simulation techniques2 to data from published literature and nationally representative population databases. 

“It’s mind-boggling how much we can save by encouraging healthy behaviors, improving care delivery, and investing in better treatments. To put the numbers into perspective, economic savings in the next 15 years are enough to send every American who is currently younger than 18 through a four-year public college, twice. Or, it could help pay for about half of the mortgage for every homeowner across the entire country,” commented Wayne Su, director at IHS Life Sciences.

This work underscores what more than 55,000 Americans recognize and nearly 100 economists confirm is an issue that must be top of mind for political leaders. PFCD encourages voters to #Fight4Health and elevate chronic disease as significant part of the conversation throughout the election and into the new administration in order to advocate for policies that prioritize prevention and implement better health management. 
Key documents: 

  • National + 51 state fact sheets (50 states and the District of Columbia) 
  • Executive Summary
  • FAQ 

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, 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 disease. Learn more by visiting

1Chronic diseases included in analysis are: diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions (asthma and COPD), serious mental disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia), cognitive disorders (dementia, Alzheimer's), osteoporosis and cancers.
2Details on methods, assumptions, and validation can be found at The model has undergone extensive internal and external validation activities, including clinical review by physicians and methodological review by experts in health economics, statistics, and modeling.