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Bush to promote health prevention in budget

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    Bush to promote health prevention in budget


    Associated Press

    By LAURA MECKLER Associated Press Writer

    Tuesday, January 21, 2003


    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush will ask Congress for $125 million to help cities create programs to prevent disease before it happens.

    The request, part of the president's 2004 budget request, builds on a program that Bush proposed last year. Because the 2003 budget is not yet in place, the ``Healthy Communities'' initiative has not yet been created. Last year, Bush asked for $25 million to get the program going.

    Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Tuesday it is imperative that Americans eat healthier, exercise more and stop smoking. That, he said, would help stem chronic diseases such as diabetes, which afflict 125 million people in the United States. Obesity alone kills 300,000 people a year, Thompson said, and treating it costs the nation $117 billion a year in direct and indirect costs.

    Each year 1.7 million people die of chronic illnesses, he said.

    ``There's no bioterrorism attack that would ever be that devastating,'' he said.

    ``This is going to be a tough fight,'' said Thompson, who has lost nearly 20 pounds by dieting and exercise. ``There's nothing more difficult than getting people to change their lifestyles.''

    He did not specify what he hopes communities will do with the proposed money. Rather, he said, cities will come up with innovative proposals and compete for grants. He said he hopes there's enough money to give grants to 10 to 12 major cities.

    Winning cities will have their programs evaluated for effectiveness, Thompson said.

    Experts say part of the problem is the health care system itself. Medicare, the government-run program that provides health care for the elderly, and private companies often don't pay for preventive care. Thompson said that was a problem but offered no specifics for fixing it.

    The new prevention program will join many existing programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other HHS agencies that also are aimed at improving lifestyles and preventing disease.

    Thompson planned to promote the budget request Wednesday at a forum in El Paso, Texas.


    On the Net: Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov

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    After the full effects of these programs are realized, less money will need to be invested in Medicare since people will generally be healthier.
    I can't see why the Canadian government dosn't realize this. If they spent more on preventitive health care, then we could probably clip off about 20 billion from our federal budget every year.

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