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Chronic Disease Care Costs Get Bipartisan Attention

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, July 17, 2014

The Senate Finance Committee hears testimony and is expected to examine in the coming months possible solutions to the problems posed by chronic disease care, which accounts for 93 percent of all Medicare spending.

Even by Washingtonian political standards, testimony for a Senate Finance panel hearing on addressing the crushing cost of chronic disease care opened on a dramatic note this week.

Tuesday morning's first witness knows the costs associated with chronic disease all too well. Stephanie Dempsey, an American Heart Association volunteer who lives in Georgia, has suffered with heart disease since she was 21, the 44-year-old told the senators.

Over the next several months, the committee is expected to examine several possible solutions to the problems posed by chronic disease care, which accounts for 93 percent of all Medicare spending, according to the panel's chairman, Ron Wyden (D-OR). Among the proposals the committee will be assessing is the Better Care, Lower Cost Act, which Wyden and three other lawmakers introduced in January.

"My heart disease is hereditary and has impacted all of the women in my family. My only sister died at the age of 28 from heart disease. My mother, who is 69, underwent quadruple bypass surgery at the age of 48, and my maternal grandmother died at the age of 72 from coronary artery disease."
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3 comments on "Chronic Disease Care Costs Get Bipartisan Attention"


Joan Millet (7/20/2014 at 8:25 AM)
I am an R.N. who has also had personal experience with Chronic Disease in my family. I am fortunate that I could Case Manage & Advocate for them. Many dont & there is definitely a need for Case Management that cross lines with Dr's, Hospitals, Home Care etc. Not one in each environment but one who knows the patient in all environments. I believe there has to be caps to take away greed & that there must be willing participants who will care about the patient more than the payment schedule. These caregivers could receive bonuses if the quality of care & services were provided at the cap amt. This has to be attacked in a pilot type program to be sure it works. Will be praying for all.

Ewell Scott (7/18/2014 at 10:09 PM)
The cost of care in US is twice that of other civilized countries due to overwhelmingly inefficient multiple private health insurance companies. Cost can virtually be cut in half by transitioning to a single payer system. That is the answer.

Gloryanne (7/17/2014 at 4:57 PM)
Good article, this speaks to the need to get the ICD-10 code set up and going in 2015. Catpuring coded data and information about chronic disease will enhance our ability to decrease pain, suffering and decrease costs.