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Does anyone care diabetes might cost $3 trillion? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dina Overland, fiercehealthpayer.com   
Friday, 17 December 2010 12:49
Diabetes will cost the healthcare system $3.35 trillion by 2020. More than 50 percent of Americans could have diabetes by 2020. Diabetes will account for 10 percent of total healthcare spending, costing $500 billion each year. These are all alarming facts presented in a recent UnitedHealth report, The United States of Diabetes. My question is: how can such tantalizing stats garner such little attention?

There's little buzz in the world--or the healthcare industry, for that matter--about this alarming estimate. When you Google "diabetes," "$3.35 trillion" and "UnitedHealth," you get about 38,000 results, most of which are the same press release or national story published in different local newspapers. Among the stories that have been published, there's little investigation; each account seems to have followed the Dragnet slogan of "Just the facts, ma'am." And when I did an admittedly incredibly unscientific survey among family and friends, only one had even heard of this diabetes story.

Why aren't people talking about such a staggering and potentially debilitating cost to healthcare? Have we become so desensitized about escalating healthcare expenditures that we dismiss the issue--despite UnitedHealth describing diabetes as a "time bomb"?

I am happy that some of the news articles do cite UnitedHealth's suggestions to potentially curb these costs (and the insurer did a good job of delineating these). But there just doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency about the problem. Insurers should be sharing their own cost-saving ideas with each other; they should be devising prevention programs so customers can avoid becoming diabetic; they should be creating incentives so customers with diabetes become healthier.

Here are some more stats that should make insurance industry execs and other stakeholders want to jump out of their chair to do something--anything--to help solve the problem. Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the nation, currently affecting 27 million Americans. Another 67 million Americans likely have prediabetes. Experts predict that one out of three children born in the year 2000 (one in three!) will develop diabetes, putting them at grave risk for heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and limb amputation.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 December 2010 13:07
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HHS new 2020 health agenda spotlights prevention PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sandra Yin , fiercehealthcare.com   
Friday, 17 December 2010 12:43
HHS' newest 10-year health goals for the country, Healthy People 2020, focus on prevention.

Chronic diseases are behind 70 percent of all deaths in America and account for 75 cents of every dollar spent on health, according to HHS. "Our challenge and opportunity is to avoid preventable diseases from occurring in the first place," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

The initiative's overarching goals include attaining high quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death; and eliminating health disparities and improving the health of all groups.

According to HHS, setting In this book, Harvard Business high school education Professor Joseph Badaracco answers this question in practical and, at times, provocative ways. goals like the Healthy People initiative, which was unveiled today, aren't just empty exercises. Preliminary analyses suggest that over the last decade, the country advanced toward or met 71 percent of its last Healthy People goals. Note to HHS: Just what percentage did the U.S. meet?

Unlike earlier versions of the goals, the 2020 set reflects an awareness that natural and man-made disasters, such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina and H1N1 flu pandemic, can happen. It calls for all-hazards preparedness for any public health emergency.

The 2020 agenda also references efforts to build the public health IT infrastructure.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 June 2014 16:54
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