Community View: Tackle chronic disease to control health care costs

By Bryan A. Liang
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death in California.

The most common chronic conditions cost the state $133 billion annually. By improving access to quality health care, we can break the stranglehold that these treatable chronic diseases have on our state.

Chronic illnesses–diseases that are long lasting and/or have recurrent symptoms such as hypertension and diabetes–afflict nearly half of all Americans.

In California, 20 percent of the population suffers from multiple chronic diseases. These individuals account for 60 percent of statewide health care expenditures. Yet much of this spending is avoidable.

A key step in the fight against chronic disease is expanding access to health insurance. Today, California has the sixth-highest uninsured rate in the country, with 18.5 percent of us lacking health coverage. Making sure chronic disease patients have insurance makes it likely they will receive necessary care to manage their condition.

So how do we expand insurance access? First, we need to get eligible Californians signed up for public health programs. Nearly 7 million uninsured California residents are already eligible for public health coverage, but have not signed up.

Second, many Californians are eligible for coverage through their employer but have not taken advantage of it. To get these individuals access, California should allow businesses to auto-enroll employees in health plans and provide subsidies to assist in their purchase.
Third, subsidies and tax incentives should be extended to small–and medium–sized companies to encourage them to offer health benefits to more employees.

The easier we make it for people to obtain health insurance, the more likely they will take advantage of it. By concentrating our efforts to fight the battle against chronic disease, a healthier California–both medically and economically–will result.

Bryan A. Liang is executive director of the Institute of Health Law Studies, California Western School of Law and co-director of the San Diego Center for Patient Safety, UCSD School of Medicine.

Related posts:

  1. Simple steps can expand access to health insurance
  2. Community View: To Obama: The right medicine for reform
  3. Health insurance help for unemployed San Diegans
  4. Philanthropy Spotlight: Huntington’s Disease Society of America, San Diego chapter
  5. Class action lawsuit filed against Scripps Health

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=2710

Posted by on Apr 16, 2009. Filed under Archives. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • New Rancho Santa Fe Library Branch Manager welcomes community input
    Rancho Santa Fe Library’s new Branch Manager Haley Kwon has been charmed by the village’s “sweet, down-home” character, the simple pleasure of visiting the local library and people’s enjoyment of a slower speed of time. “It’s a small town and the library is a place for people to connect,” Kwon said. “People have a different sense of time here, they come in t […]
  • Robotics booming at Rancho Santa Fe School
    By Karen Billing At R. Roger Rowe School, 44 percent of first graders are participating in the robotics program this year. The school is fielding 44 robotics teams, including 31 percent of second grade, 23 percent of third grade, 35 percent of fourth grade and 39 percent of fifth grade. In the middle school, there are two FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams and fi […]
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices honored with Stevie Gold Award
    Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was recently named Startup of the Year in the 2014 American Business Awards, earning the brokerage the Stevie Gold award. The award was presented at the Fairmont Millennium Park Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is among a select few organizations to be entrusted with the Berkshire Hathaway name,” co […]