I posted this at Medpolitics.com today… but it is displaying some weird code, so I decided to repost it here.
For the first time in recent memory the Republicans and the Democrats are on the same page on a healthcare issue: the problem of chronic disease. Former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona told me that chronic disease contributes more to healthcare costs than any other single issue, and that many chronic diseases are preventable through diet and lifestyle measures. Both political parties seem to agree that America must become a “wellness” culture. However, they don’t exactly agree on how that may be achieved. The Democrats would expand the government’s role in stimulating healthy behaviors while the Republicans would use market forces and grass roots efforts to encourage personal accountability.
WHAT THE DEMOCRATS SAY ABOUT CHRONIC DISEASE:
An Emphasis on Prevention and Wellness.
Chronic diseases account for 70 percent of the nation’s overall health care spending. We need to promote healthy lifestyles and disease prevention and management especially with health promotion programs at work and physical education in schools. All Americans should be empowered to promote wellness and have access to preventive services to impede the development of costly chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Chronic-care and behavioral health management should be assured for all Americans who require care coordination. This includes assistance for those recovering from traumatic, life-altering injuries and illnesses as well as those with mental health and substance use disorders. We should promote additional tobacco and substance abuse prevention. (“Renewing America’s Promise,” pg. 10).
WHAT THE REPUBLICANS SAY ABOUT CHRONIC DISEASE:
Prevent Disease and End the “Sick Care” SystemChronic diseases — in many cases, preventable conditions — are driving health care costs, consuming three of every four health care dollars. We can reduce demand for medical care by fostering personal responsibility within a culture of wellness, while increasing access to preventive services, including improved nutrition and breakthrough medications that keep people healthy and out of the hospital. To reduce the incidence of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, we call for a national grassroots campaign against obesity, especially among children. We call for continuation of efforts to decrease use of tobacco, especially among the young. (“2008 Republican Platform,” pg. 38).
Whichever party is elected this November, one thing is certain – more emphasis will be placed on encouraging Americans to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is doing its part to coordinate these efforts and raise awareness of lifestyle modification programs that work. As for me, I’ve traded my car for a pedometer.
This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.