As the debate around how best to provide healthcare to Americans continues, one concept that seems to be catching on is the simple idea of encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles.
In a column in Sunday's Washington Post, David Broder described what one coalition, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, is proposing. It is well worth reading. Simply put, the idea is that by focusing on preventive care and management of chronic diseases, costs can be reduced. This is no small opportunity to trim expenses. The numbers speak volumes:
"Government records show that 75 percent of health-care costs and seven out of every 10 deaths are attributable to chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Obesity, which has doubled in 30 years, is by itself responsible for 30 percent of the increase in health-care costs during that period. In far too many cases, perhaps a majority, treatment of these diseases is intermittent and inconsistent. What is worse, little has been done to prevent them or arrest them in their early stages."
This makes sense to me. After all, if I could lose a few pounds and reduce my cholesterol, I'm pretty sure that I would not only feel better but I would also reduce my risk of developing heart disease - a condition that plagues my family.
Preventive care shouldn't be the only solution worth considering, but it makes sense that it be a component of any health care plan.
Note: The PFCD is made up many diverse organizations . In the interest of full disclosure, I want to point out that Johnson & Johnson is a member of two of these organizations -- PhRMA and the US Chamber of Commerce.