Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health law stands, but debate rages on

The Supreme Court ruling that largely supports President Obama’s health care overhaul will not end the contentious debate over health care in the United States.

Health care reform is more complicated than a single piece of legislation, said Kenneth Thorpe, chair of the Department of Health Policy Management at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, in an interview shortly before the court’s decision.

"A lot of the increase in health care spending over the last two decades is because we've had an explosion in the number of people who have chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, pulmonary disease, and more," says Thorpe.

"We need to have a better prevention system in this country," says Thorpe, "but we also need to do a better job of caring for chronically ill patients, to keep them out of hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. Three quarters of what we spend in health care is on chronically ill patients. We need to do a better job of engaging them to keep them healthy."

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