PRESS RELEASE from the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

Vice Presidential Candidates Missed Opportunity for Critical Dialogue on Affordability of Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 3, 2008) - The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) expressed disappointment at last night’s Vice-presidential debate, where Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin did not address one of the nation’s most pressing economic issues: the rising cost of health care.

"The U.S. annually spends over $2.1 trillion, or 16 percent of its GDP, on health care. Chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, account for 75 percent of every health care dollar spent in the U.S.," says Ken Thorpe, PFCD Executive Director. "This is a pressing issue not just for the health of Americans, but for our future economic stability, and voters deserve to hear the candidates discuss how they will address these rising costs."

Earlier this week, Thorpe and Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, co-chair of the PFCD Wisconsin chapter, held a conference call to discuss why health care could be the next financial casualty on the horizon. Health care is becoming a growing financial burden for individual Americans and a threat to the U.S. economy.

"The economic downturn has made paying attention to the issue of health reform in 2009 an even more important priority," said Thorpe. "Failure on the part of our nation’s leaders to act on making health care more affordable is a recipe for long-term disaster."

Chronic diseases are the number one cause of death and leading driver of rising health care costs in America. The annual economic impact on the U.S. economy of the seven most common chronic diseases is calculated to be $1.3 trillion, which could balloon to nearly $6 trillion by the middle of the century. These are conditions that, with proper early intervention, diet, and exercise, could be prevented, delayed, or minimized. More than 130 million Americans today have a chronic disease.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease:

The PFCD is a national coalition of more than 100 patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: poorly prevented and mismanaged chronic disease.

The PFCD's mission is to: