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Word from the White House: The Cost of Inaction & Patient Centered Health Research

It's no secret that institutions of all stripes focus their communications on certain messages day to day. We thought it would all be a little more open and transparent if we went ahead and published what our focus will be for the day, along with any related articles, reports or documents.

Supporting Report: "The Cost of Failure to Enact Health Reform," Roberts Wood Johnson Foundation, 9/30/09

Talking Points: New Report – The Cost of Inaction
·         Even as we continue to debate exactly what health insurance reform will look like in its final form, it’s critical to remember one thing: doing nothing is not an option.  The cost of inaction is too high.
·         A new report out today from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation underscores that cost.
·         It finds that "if federal reform efforts fail, over the next decade in every state, the number of uninsured will increase, employer-sponsored coverage will continue to erode, spending on public programs will balloon and individual and family out-of-pocket costs could increase by more than 35 percent."
·         Under even the best case scenario, their analysis predicts a tremendous economic strain on individuals and businesses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia if reform is not enacted.
·         And in the worst case scenario the results would be absolutely devastating:
o   In 29 states, the number of people without insurance would increase by more than 30 percent.
§ The number of uninsured could grow by at least 10 percent in every state. All told, the number of uninsured Americans would reach 65.7 million.
o   Individual and family spending would increase significantly—from $326.4 billion in 2009 to $548.4 billion in 2019.
§ Individual and family out-of-pocket costs would increase by more than 35 percent in every state
o   Businesses would see their premiums continue to increase – more than doubling in 27 states.
§ Even under the best case scenario, employers in nearly every state would see premium costs increase by more than 60 percent.
o   Every state would see employer-sponsored coverage continue to erode, and half would see the number of people with employer sponsored coverage fall by more than 10 percent.
Talking Points: Patient Centered Health Research
 
·        Health care is a complicated subject and sometimes it’s easy to get confused by terms we haven’t heard before – like the "comparative effectiveness research" being debated on Capitol Hill today.
·        But when you get past the jargon, the idea here is really quite simple:   Patient centered health research gives doctors and patients the best medical information to help them make the best decisions. 
o   To facilitate higher-quality health care, this research pulls together the evidence on treatments available for a given medical condition and summarizes the risks and benefits of various options to help doctors and patients choose the treatment that’s best for their individual needs.
·        This research expands choices for patients.
·        Right now, less than one percent of our health care spending goes to examining what treatments are most effective.
o   And even when that information finds its way into journals, it can take up to 17 years to find its way to an exam room or operating table.
o   Don’t you want your doctor to have more information, not less?
·        The research will never be used to ration care or dictate medical decisions – it simply provides medical research. 
o   In fact, the objective medical research actually  empowers doctors and patients and helps them fight insurance company decisions to deny treatment and ration care
·        Many physician and patient groups recognize that this research is important and support it.
·        Opposing this research keeps doctors and patients in the dark and strengthens insurance companies at the expense of doctors and patients.