Insurers should focus on prevention: The nation insurance companies are “wrong-headed,” says Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services – Health Care

Insurers should focus on prevention: The nation insurance companies are “wrong-headed,” says Tommy Thompson, the Secretary of Health and Human Services – Health Care – Brief Article

They’re putting their focus on treating illness, he says, when they should be emphasizing preventing disease. “We need to move from a health care system that treats disease to one that avoids disease through wiser personal choices,” said Thompson. He wants to expand Medicare coverage of preventive services, an idea that has support on both sides of the aisle. Says the Secretary, the nation spent $1.4 trillion on health care in 2001 and three-fourths of that was to treat chronic illnesses whose prevalence could be reduced through prevention. “We’re overweight. We don’t exercise. The incidence of diabetes and obesity among Americans is up sharply in the last decade. Even modest changes in lifestyle can make a big difference in health.” Thompson met recently with representatives of the fast food industry and asked them to help combat obesity by offering healthier food choices. It may be coincidental, but both McDonalds and Frito-Lay recently announced they would begin using a healthier oil to fry foods.

# 17416 New York, NY, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 1-22-03

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