Don't make cuts to obesity prevention research

Research and obesity prevention go hand-in-hand. Research can improve health and lower health care costs through the discovery of new and better ways of preventing obesity and reducing risk factors for disease. It also remains our best hope for finding cures for heart disease and stroke, our nation’s leading health threats.

That’s why it’s more important than ever for Congress and the Administration to make a strong investment in research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to discover what works and to put that knowledge into action through initiatives that encourage physical activity among our nation’s children.


The cost of losing innovation

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program has fostered the growth of fledgling companies during some of the most challenging times in their business cycles, and supported the advancement of important products to the marketplace, including transformational biomedical therapies that can improve the lives of children and adults suffering from genetic disorders, infectious diseases, cancer and autoimmune diseases. 

Sadly, current rules resulting from a 2003 Office of Hearings and Appeals decision have inhibited and interfered with the growth and survival of small private biotechnology companies and the development of promising technologies and products due to the inability of venture-backed companies to participate in the SBIR program.


GOP offers no death panels, just death from lack of care

Republicans concocted death panels in an attempt to terrify Americans about health care reform, then propagated the lie because they wanted insurance corporations to profit from illness and injury unfettered.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed anyway, but now the GOP has announced that it plans to kill the reform, and Medicaid and Medicare too.

In one fell swoop, Republicans would foreclose on Americas’ long-held and cherished expectation that they’ll receive health coverage from their government in their old age, impoverishment or infirmity. For the elderly, poor, unemployed, disabled and juvenile who can’t afford insurance, the GOP offers no death panels, just death from lack of care.


Seniors, say goodbye to your healthcare

The federal budget is a statement of our priorities and our values as a nation, and it has three goals. First: To meet our obligations. Second: To be fiscally responsible. And, Third: To grow our economy. 

The Republican budget proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan fails all three of these goals, and undermines the foundation of who we are as a nation.

We need a sensible, responsible and targeted plan to fix our nation’s budget challenges, including reducing our deficit and balancing our budget. And yes, we have tough choices ahead.

But, that is not what House Republicans have proposed this week. 


Planned Parenthood physician corrects the record

A recent opinion piece by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who now opposes legal abortion without exception, perpetuates long-standing, inaccurate myths about Planned Parenthood.  

We understand that people’s views regarding abortion can change over time. However, everyone, regardless of his or her views, must stick to the facts.

As a physician who cares for women at Planned Parenthood health centers in California and New York, I know firsthand that Planned Parenthood offers the highest-quality health care. Moreover, as senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, I am responsible for overseeing the health care delivered to millions of women at the more than 800 Planned Parenthood health centers across the country.


Face-to-face encounters raise costs for patients

This is a sad day for millions of homebound and chronically ill older Americans and their loved ones.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has put into force regulations that originally were slated to take effect on Jan. 1, 2011. The new regulations require not only that physicians continue to certify the need for home health care and thus qualify patients for Medicare, but mandate that this can happen only after the physician visits and has a face-to-face encounter with potential patients. These regulations were delayed due to serious concerns about physicians' readiness to comply and the impact that the requirement will have on severely ill patients.


Health decisions belong with patients, not government

Age-related macular degeneration is a terrifying condition. Left untreated, the result is a gradual loss of sight at the center of the field of vision, ultimately making it impossible to read or recognize the faces of loved ones, let alone drive a car. About 1.25 million Americans suffer from this potentially debilitating condition. It’s the leading cause of blindness in the Western world.

In April, the National Institutes of Health will release a study that could drastically affect the ability of patients and their doctors to decide how best to treat their AMD. But it’s not just AMD sufferers who should be on alert -- this study could set a precedent for a dangerous level of government involvement in all kinds of medical treatment decisions.


ObamaCare's big bucks

When then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Congress needed to pass the Obama healthcare bill to find out what is in it, she had a point.

Details about how some of the provisions and how they are being implemented are still coming to light.


Prevention saves lives and money

As a parent, not a day goes by that I don’t worry about receiving a call that one of my children has been in a car crash, even now that they’re grown. It’s every parent’s nightmare and for myriad reasons.

Distracted driving has become a growing problem, and there has been a recent uptick in drunken driving fatalities in several states. Perhaps it’s the misguided assumption that accidents are just accidents and there is little we can do to prevent them that fuels our anxiety. But this is far from the truth.


Ensure the proper use of medication for better health

Medication adherence, or ensuring the proper use of medication, is a serious and growing problem, particularly with older Americans. It not only has serious health consequences, it’s also a major contributor to rising healthcare costs. 

Ten years ago, the costs of non-adherence – such as hospitalizations and other costly medical treatments – was estimated to be $177 billion annually, according to researchers Ernst and Grizzle of the University of Arizona’s College of Pharmacy. In 2009, the research group NEHI released a study estimating the potential costs to be as high as a staggering $290 billion each year.