Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona met with leaders of the Iowa Democrat and Republican parties today and those leaders agreed to join an effort to fight chronic disease. Doctor Carmona says the effort needs to be at the forefront of the healthcare debate among presidential candidates.
Carmona says the majority of what we spend our healthcare dollars on are preventable diseases that are chronic diseases. He says they’re things like diabetes, heart attack, stroke that people think are inevitable as we get older, but Carmona says they are preventable if we take some healthy steps. Carmona says the "Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease" has one goal.
"To move this forward as a national policy agenda with our presidential candidates and others," Carmona says. He says the public has already said that healthcare and healthcare reform is the number one domestic policy and Iowa has tremendous opportunity to bring this forward at the Iowa Caucuses and set the national health agenda.
Carmona, who served as U.S. Surgeon General from 2002 to 2006, says their efforts are starting to get attention from the candidates. Carmona says when they started months ago the issue was not on the candidate’s agenda, but now he says the candidates are starting to talk about it, and some candidates have commended them for bringing the issue forward.
Carmona says getting rid of chronic disease is a key first step in reforming the healthcare system. He says we do need to revamp our system of healthcare, but says no healthcare policy will be complete unless it addresses the chronic disease issue and its cost. Carmona says everyone in the state can help in the effort.
Carmona says the average Iowan needs to be educated about chronic disease and find out what they can do to stay healthy and reduce the cost of care. He says a little exercise, eating healthy, quit smoking are among the host of things you can do. Carmona says we have to raise the health literacy of America, and it is a major challenge. For more information, go to www.PFCDIowa.org .