Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Partnership for Prevention today applauded a health reform proposal crafted by four former Senate majority leaders — Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell. The “Crossing Our Lines” report called for the establishment of a 10-year, $50 billion public health and wellness fund that would, among other things, invest in the elimination of co-payments and deductibles for high-value preventive services and provide tax credits for workplace wellness programs.

“In this report, noted leaders from both political parties have laid out a common-sense plan that would increase the nation’s focus on clinical and population-based prevention,” said Partnership President Robert J. Gould. “Partnership for Prevention urges members of Congress to take a close look at this report and use it as a guide to assure that real health reform starts with prevention.”

In the report, the former Senate leaders noted that “a large and growing proportion of our health spending” is currently going toward chronic diseases that are attributable to “clear, changeable patient behaviors.”

“However, traditional approaches to health care, which pay more for treating illnesses after they develop, do not support these lifestyle changes,” they said. The report called for a focus on school, workplace and community-based programs that “effectively encourage more responsible health choices.”

The leaders proposed using the $50 billion public health and wellness fund to:

  • invest $500 million in innovative school and community-based programs to provide direct preventive and primary health care services, including exercise, nutrition, and wellness education;
  • eliminate deductibles and co-payments under Medicare for “A” and “B” rated preventive services that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has deemed appropriate;
  • provide a 50 percent tax credit for certified employer-based wellness programs for small- and medium-sized firms;
  • invest $2.5 billion to support community health teams to provide preventive wellness and coordinated preventive health services.


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