PRESS RELEASE from Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Contact: Alexander Shaine

National Bipartisan Coalition Forms to Make Chronic Disease the
Key Health Care Issue in 2008 Presidential Election
Chronic Disease Accounts for 7 in 10 Deaths and more than 75 Cents of Every Dollar Spent on Health Care in the U.S.

Largest Bipartisan Partnership to Tackle the Nation’s Number One Cause of Death and Disability

        WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 15, 2007) – Leading experts and organizations in the health care, business, and labor communities came together today to launch the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), a coalition committed to making the issue of chronic disease the key health care issue in the 2008 presidential election. The PFCD is led by Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, the 17th Surgeon General of the United States (2002-2006) and president of the Canyon Ranch Institute, and Ken Thorpe, Ph.D., Chair, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a former White House health policy advisor.

        “We have a ‘sick care’ system, not a health care system in this country. That’s why this diverse coalition is sounding the alarm and calling for action,” said Carmona. “Despite any differences we may have on other issues, we all agree on a single, undeniable fact: 130 million people suffer from chronic diseases in our nation, and costs are skyrocketing because of preventable and poorly managed chronic diseases. We can – and we must – do something to stop it.”

        “Americans suffering from chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, and heart disease can and do have devastating effects in terms of lives lost, quality of life lost, and tremendous financial burden. The good news is that the benefits of action could be the opposite,” Carmona added.

        According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. – killing more than 1.7 million Americans every year. Chronic diseases are also the primary driver of health care costs, accounting for more than 75% of the $2 trillion dollars spent each year on health care in the United States.

        “Any serious proposal to reform our health care system must address preventable chronic disease,” said Thorpe. “Our nation’s premier business, labor, health care, and community organizations are dedicated to making chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer the number one health care priority for policymakers and presidential candidates.”

        Thorpe, along with other high-profile health policy experts, including former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Mark McClellan, M.D., announced the broad-based effort that aims to change the way our nation approaches chronic disease at a panel discussion today.  Representatives from more than 50 organizations attended the event, which was held at the National Capital YMCA, a critical partner in the effort.

        Leaders from such organizations as the American Academy of Family Physicians, America’s Agenda: Health Care for All, American Hospital Association, America’s pharmaceutical companies, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Health Council, and Service Employee International Union joined Thorpe and McClellan on the panel.

        During the event, Thorpe and McClellan delivered a keynote presentation titled “An Unhealthy Truth” – an overview of the crisis of chronic disease and the lack of awareness among the majority of Americans about the problem and potential solutions. Key facts in the presentation included:

        “There is a lot of debate about how to pay for health care, but there is a lot of agreement about the need for better prevention and management of chronic diseases that can yield better results for patients and overall cost savings,” said McClellan. “With the presidential election coming up, we intend to do all we can to put the focus on the critical need to reduce the burden of chronic disease. It’s essential for our health and for the sustainability of our health care system.”

        In order to bring the issue of chronic disease to the forefront of the national dialogue on health care, the PFCD is modeling its outreach strategy and tactics after a modern-day presidential campaign. Thorpe and other national partners will participate in the launches of state chapters over the next few days and weeks in high-profile presidential primary states, such as Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The launches of state-based PFCD campaigns will jump-start the PFCD’s grassroots campaign, which includes voter and candidate education and media outreach. While the initial phase of the campaign targets early presidential primary states, the PFCD will continue spreading its message through the 2008 presidential election and beyond.

        Paid media is a critical part of the PFCD’s awareness-building efforts. Print, radio, billboard, and other highly visible outdoor advertisements aim to educate consumers and policymakers on the issue of chronic disease. The ads will explicitly ask voters to hold presidential candidates responsible for addressing the issue.
        Starting today, the PFCD will also run an extensive online advertising campaign to drive consumers and policymakers to the coalition’s innovative Web site
( where they can:

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease
        The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national bipartisan coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease.

The PFCD’s mission is to:

Leaders in the effort represent more than 50 leading organizations from across health care, business and labor including Aetna, American Academy of Family Physicians, Alliance for Aging Research, American Academy of Physician Assistants, American College of Nurse Practitioners, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Hospital Association, American Pharmacists Association Foundation, Disease Management Association of America, Kerr Drug, Integrated Benefits Institute, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, NAACP, Milken Institute, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Association of Manufacturers, National Medical Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Service Employees International Union, Sheet Metal Workers International Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and YMCA of the USA, among others.