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As Congress and President Obama continue to negotiate to solve our budget crisis to avoid the fiscal cliff, it would be wise to consider the financial impact that the seven most common chronic diseases have on our economy. Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, and underlying causes such as obesity and tobacco use, affect more than 130 million Americans and contibute greatly to our out-of-control healthcare costs. According to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, "these conditions cost more than $1 trillion a year, and if there is no change, could balloon to nearly $6 trillion by 2050. To break it down even further, largely preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases account for 75 cents of every dollar we spend on healthcare in the U.S., every day, every year. Even more daunting, chronic disease costs consume more than 90 cents of every dollar spent on Medicare and Medicaid. In contrast, we spend less than 5 cents on prevention."
In order to improve our nation's health and utilize our monetary resources more effectively, we must put more effort to keeping Americans healthy, rather than waiting until they become ill and require expensive care. Prevention is key to helping Americans live longer, healthier lives and will also increase our country's productivity. This is why supporters continue their efforts to bring HR 3679 National Nurse Act of 2011 to fruition. This legislation will bring nurses to the forefront as embedded authoritative delivers of key prevention messages. Nurses will become more mobilized toward health promotion along with caring for those who are ill.
By designating the Chief Nurse Officer of the US Public Health Service to be officially known as the country's National Nurse for Public Health, Congress will provide an impetus for promoting the Medical Reserve Corps and strengthening existing public health infrastructure and resources, through which willing nurses and other healthcare workers within each community would deliver and reinforce messages of prevention.
More than 115 organizations and prominent individuals and four state legislatures have endorsed HR 3679, The National Nurse Act of 2011. Plans for reintroduction in the 113th Congress are underway, and more support is needed. Email the National Nursing Network Organization today and learn how your organization can be added to the growing list of endorsers.