Wednesday, May 20, 2009

GOP to Hold Hearing on Prevention

Republicans are using prevention to help frame their approach to health reform. The Senate Republican Conference and the Republican Policy Committee will hold a May 21 hearing on Capitol Hill to discuss "wellness and prevention through healthy behavior as a key to health care reform."

"This hearing will explore solutions that can help keep Americans healthier and truly bend the cost curve in the right direction," said a hearing announcement.

The wording of the witness list suggests the hearing will focus heavily upon the notion of personal responsibility.

It describes former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as a person "whose efforts to improve his own health after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes have received national attention." There is no mention of the many state programs Huckabee actually put in place to help combat childhood obesity, like mandatory BMI measurements of every public school student and restrictions on junk food on school campuses.

Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway, Inc., is touted for his "consumer-driven health care program that could serve as a template for addressing the national health care crisis." "Consumer-driven" would appear to be an alternative to "government program."

In his forward to the 2002 "Call to Action" on obesity and overweight, Surgeon General David Satcher said: "Many people believe that dealing with overweight and obesity is a personal responsibility. To some degree they are right, but it is also a community responsibility." He went on to explain that personal responsibility can only exist in a community where healthy choices are readily available. Where there are no safe places to play or exercise, where healthy food choices are either scarce or unaffordable, and where environments are unhealthy, personal responsibility can have a hard time taking root.


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