Revisiting the theme of prevention with a renewed emphasis on it would save public dollars, even deaths and distress. Fortunately, this is something that Americans are interested in seeing more of, according to a new nationwide poll by Erickson Health – a leading proponent of preventive-based care. While 82 percent of registered voters don’t think Americans are doing enough themselves to prevent disease, the poll found a majority (67%) would like to hear more from the presidential candidates about the issue, thereby opening the gates of discussion on the topic.
Although clinical preventive health is equally important to personal health, just 14 percent of voters identified physicals and screenings as the most important preventive health care practice. “We know that preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies and simple dental exams are vital tools in the fight against serious disease,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) recently stated. “We now have to act on this knowledge; procrastination costs lives and fuels the high cost of health care.”
If Congress wants to help the issue, they need to shift themes in the ongoing debate. Recently, prominent health care professionals and senior Congressional staff from both sides of the aisle were brought together to discuss current preventive health legislation. The Politics of Prevention forum hosted folks such as renowned chronic disease expert Dr. Ken Thorpe, along with a bipartisan, pioneering group of senators and House members leading the charge on this effort. Those are the steps Washington should now be taking to build the bridges for action.
Surely the government can help by producing incentives and information about preventive health care, but Americans also need to stop relying solely on Uncle Sam to improve their health – its time for citizens to do their part as well.
You can bet that no one voluntarily wants to pay more taxes, but everyone wants to create a healthier America. And taking the personal and clinical initiatives to avoid disease altogether can satisfy both wants. The right discussion has finally begun on the Hill. But even if proper Congressional action is taken, Americans need to take some of their own personal responsibility to see it through.
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