Refocusing on Health Care Opportunities That Can Make a Real Impact
By Kenneth Thorpe, Chairman, The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (original on Huffington Post)
Now that the campaign smoke has cleared, we can expect a refocusing of the nation’s arguments from the question of who will get elected to what will be done about hot-button issues like health care. Expect pitched debates to begin imminently on battlegrounds including, but certainly not limited to, Medicare reform, revisiting the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board and medical device taxes.
The fact is though, the more time policymakers spend wrangling over these issues on which there are clear, and not easily bridged partisan divides, the more we’re missing the fundamental steps that can and must be taken if we’re going to contain health care costs without compromising the quality or accessibility of care.
It begins with acknowledging what we don’t know about improving health care, and what we need to do to broaden our knowledge base. And it has to do with the more than 75 million Americans who have not one, but multiple chronic illnesses. Our health care system in this country is quite adept at treating people who have a single disease. We don’t have an effective set of best practices, or an essential foundation of research, to know how to take care of those who are coping with more than one condition.
We have the opportunity to improve this situation, and it should begin with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI.org), the entity created by Congress to evaluate different prevention and treatment therapies and offer scientifically-supported evidence on how to provide patients with the most effective care.
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