September 13, 2010 - First Lady Michelle Obama reminds us in a speech "Chronic and often preventable diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation’s health spending."
She said "Under the Affordable Care Act, new insurance plans are required to provide preventive care without cost-sharing, which will remove financial barriers for many Americans to preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies and immunizations, help prevent disease and reduce costs." (Affordable Care Act Asks for Free Preventive Health Care, Food Consumer, 7/15/2010)
Four modifiable health risk behaviors—lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are responsible for much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases.
Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in an article in the Huffington Post writes that Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska wants to repeal a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — the health reform law — that requires businesses to report certain transactions to the IRS in order to improve tax collection. To help make up for the revenue that would be lost, the Johanns Amendment would effectively eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This would gut the program before it has a chance to work. (Prevent the Senate From Gutting Prevention, Matthew L. Myers, The Huffington Post, 9/8/2010)
This must not happen. More than ever, it is critical that we, as a nation, step up prevention efforts to fight chronic disease.