A continuous coverage requirement is intended to discourage individuals from waiting until they become sick to purchase insurance. Such a requirement works well in theory to maintain a healthy marketplace, but there is little evidence on how well it might work in practice.
Workplace wellness has become a $6 billion industry in the United States. Employers hope wellness programs can help control health care costs, but they are having little if any effect on costs. Companies seeking a healthy ROI should target higher-risk employees.
Patients with multiple long-term health conditions are more likely to report poorer experiences in primary care than those with fewer health problems. A patient-centered model that takes into account the severity of disease — and the impact of combinations of diseases, on patient quality of life and health care experiences — could make a difference.
Everyone needs food, water, and shelter, yet society offers protective standards and regulations for just two of these three essentials. Food regulations focus on preventing illnesses like botulism, but when it comes to chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes, regulations offer little protection to U.S. consumers.
Thirty percent of all supermarket sales can be attributed to end-of-aisle displays, where retailers have placed more foods that increase the risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Relocating those foods to less conspicuous places would still allow those who want them to get them, but the decision to buy would be deliberate rather than impulsive.
The 1983 Orphan Drug Act appears to be successful in promoting development of new treatments for relatively rare conditions. But an unintended consequence of its success is the high cost of specialty drugs.
Given the high prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases and their enormous societal burden, every restaurant, including fast food outlets, should offer healthier meal options and discourage over-consumption.
Most people lack the information they need to judge or track the quantity and quality of the nutrients they consume. The FDA should take a disease prevention approach — as it is currently doing with trans fat — in promoting standards that address how all foods are prepared and served away from home.
ACA reforms can potentially address barriers that get in the way of individuals with asthma getting the care they need. At the population level, the law has the potential to improve outcomes and efficiency and equity of services for chronic conditions such as asthma for which cost-effective preventive treatments exist.
The American Medical Association officially designated obesity as a disease, hoping to help change the way doctors approach the issue with their patients, increase funding for research on effective treatments, spur insurers to cover prescription weight loss medications, and maybe even help de-stigmatize the condition.