Published Online: Thursday, November 1, 2007

Leading health care policy specialists are pressuring the 2008 presidential candidates to develop strategies to fight chronic diseases as part of their health care plans.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Diseases, the newly formed alliance of public health organizations, wants candidates to develop plans to fight cancer, diabetes, and obesity rather than just concentrating on access to insurance or improving cost by implementing electronic health records. The group said that chronic illnesses account for $0.75 of every dollar spent on health care and are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths in the country.

"Any serious proposal to reform our health care system must address preventable chronic disease," said initiative cofounder Kenneth E. Thorpe, PhD, chair of the department of health policy and management in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. "Our nation's premier business, labor, health care, and community organizations are dedicated to making chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer the No. 1 health care priority for policy makers and presidential candidates."

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