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Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget

old message Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion. Darrell Miller 01/07/06


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Date: January 07, 2006 12:26 PM
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Subject: Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.

Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget

Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.

You probably never heard about it on the radio, nor saw its actions reported on CNN. Others can’t guess what its acronym stands for. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an investigative arm of Congress examining the receipt and payment of public funds. This government office exists for the sole purpose of communicating to Congress those facts and figures which we, as a society, can’t afford to overlook.

And they are saying that the healthcare system is going to bankrupt us. The agency recently issued a special report called 21st Century Challenges, which concludes that current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless radical changes are initiated relatively soon, will “result in large, escalating, and persistent deficits.

The Money Pit

According to the GAO report, the United States spends more than 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, and that figures growing fast. We spend a larger percentage than is spent by any other industrialized country. What’s even more suprising is how little we get for the money. An estimated 45million Americans are uninsured. The United States continues to compare abysmally to the other industrialized nations in critical areas like infant mortality, life expectancy, and premature and preventable deaths.

Medicare and Medicaid together devour 20% of the federal budget. With the baby boomers—individuals born between the end of WWII 1960—hitting retirement age this year, those figures will only grow larger with each passing year. Unless, as the GAO report says, something is done quickly.

A report released just weeks ago by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) demonstrates that the government can save at least 6.5 billion in health care cost reductions if nutritional supplements are integerated into the healthcare system.

The Lewin Group, a market research firm, developed a report, entitled: Increasing Quality of Life While Minimizing Costs. It focused in on just two supplements, both of which concern reduction in disease prevention for people over age 65. Omega-3 oil, popular for its reduction in coronary heart disease, is projected to save 3.1 billion dollars. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which supports healthy vision, will save 2.5 billion dollars if this supplement is added to health care plans, according to the study. Savings would come from reduced hospitalizations and doctor’s fees, as well as reduced nursing home use for those who in good health, could remain independent rather than needing to transfer to live-in care facilities.

Critical Mass

Early last month, a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements kicked off. It will be co-chaired by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Rep. Fran Pallone (D-N.J.), and its goal will be to examine the manner in which nutritional supplements may become a component of healthcare reform, such as part of an individual flexible Spending Account or health Saving account. As the GAO report indicates, the government interest is reaching critical mass and nutritional supplements are on the verge of entering a new era. As Congressman Cannon said during a November 2nd press conference, government needs to develop a sound policy supporting nutritional supplements “As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health.”

Sources/Links for Further Reading:

Visit the website of the United States Government Accountability Office. //www.gao.gov/

House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights Wellness. //reform.house.gov/

For more information about the Lewin Group’s Health Impact Study, please visit: //www.supplementinfo.org/




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