Commonwealth Fund plan highlights importance of heading off chronic conditions

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The Commonwealth Fund Thursday unveiled its plan to make universal healthcare and significant healthcare savings a reality. The plan also targets the prevention of chronic conditions, which affect nearly all seniors, as a way to improve overall health quality nationwide.

Building on current public healthcare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, while incorporating aspects of the private insurance market into the system, is a way to save on healthcare costs, according to the plan. By allowing the public to compare and choose between private insurance and government-run healthcare, The Commonwealth Fund predicts that healthcare spending growth will slow to 5.5% annually, down from 6.7%, saving up to $3 trillion by the year 2020.

Another primary goal of the Commonwealth Fund plan is a massive investment in both preventing and treating chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Under the plan, health insurance benefits would be designed to encourage and support preventive care and essential care for chronic conditions, with positive incentives for patients to engage in health promotion and keep existing chronic conditions under control.

Nine out of 10 seniors have at least one chronic condition, and it is estimated that 75% of all healthcare spending goes toward treating these conditions. Details of the plan can be found at http://www.commonwealthfund.org.