A former Louisiana Congressman who now works for drug manufacturers is in Iowa today to talk about the future of health care in the U-S. Bill Tauzin is part of a movement called the "Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease." Tauzin says our current health care system takes the wrong approach in waiting to treat medical problems until after they develop.
Tauzin says the price of that approach is that we spend 85 cents out of every healthcare dollar on the damage done by diabetes, heart disease,cancer and other disease. He says if we spent money on prevention of chronic diseases, we could save lots of money and suffering.
Tauzin says the discussion in the presidential campaign is taking the right direction in wanting to be sure that everyone is covered by a health plan. But he says things have to go even further. He says we can’t stop at just ensuring that everyone has insurance, but we have to be sure the insurance is paying for the right thing. Tauzin says insurance has to pay for the preventative things that will avoid the high costs of treatments in the end.
Former Iowa Governors Terry Branstad and Tom Vilsack are leading the partnership movement in the state, and Tauzin says they’re an example of the bipartisan grassroots effort it will take to make changes. "This is the first time Democrats and Republicans have agreed on something in a long time, this is the first time that union and management have agreed on something in a long time," Tauzin says, "and this is something that Americans have to agree on. We have to put our politics aside right now."
Tauzin, who is president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, was in Des Moines to speak at Des Moines University.