Monday, February 22, 2010

President Obama today released his proposal for resolving the impasse with Congress over health reform. The proposal is summarized in an 11 page document released this morning by the White House. Initially prevention advocates were shocked to discover that the words “prevention” and “wellness” were not included in the summary draft. Fortunately, these concerns were premature as the release of additional information highlighted the key role that prevention plays in the Administration’s plan for reform.

We have since discovered that the 11 page summary was intended primarily to highlight proposed changes in the Senate passed health reform bill; HR 3590, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

The White House has developed a detailed web site which discusses the President’s proposal in greater detail. Most encouraging to those of us who believe REAL Health Reform Starts with Prevention, the President has made crystal clear his Administration’s continued support for the key prevention, public health and wellness provisions contained in Title IV of the Senate passed health reform bill. By retaining the Senate proposal for the prevention trust fund, the proposal “provides for unprecedented investments in prevention, public health, disease research, and screening. The national investment in preventing disease and finding cures will save lives and money in the long run for American families, small businesses, and the Nation.”

The President’s commitment to prevention is reflected in the following description of the Prevention and Public Health provisions of Title IV.

“If we want to truly reform health care to benefit American families, we need to transition from a system focused primarily on treating the sick to one that helps keep people well throughout their lives…It directs the creation of a national prevention and health promotion strategy that incorporates the most effective and achievable methods to improve the health status of Americans and reduce the incidence of preventable illness and disability in the United States. The Act relies on the innovation of small businesses and state and local governments to find the best ways to improve wellness in the workplace and in our communities. And it strengthens America’s capacity to respond to public health emergencies. The Act empowers families by giving them tools to find the best science-based nutrition information, and it makes prevention and screenings a priority by waiving co-payments for America’s seniors on Medicare. By attacking disease before it hits, the Act helps to improve health, save lives, and avoid more costly complications down the road.”

Additional details about the President’s health reform proposal are summarized on a white house web site that has been developed in preparation for the bipartisan health summit scheduled for February 25. The summit will begin at 10am and will be broadcast live at

Posted by:
Ripley Forbes
Director, Government Affairs, Partnership for Prevention


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