Archive for Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dan Partridge: Too many Americans lack access

August 4, 2009

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Dan Partridge

Dan Partridge

Dan Partridge, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department director

Partridge said the biggest problem is that too many Americans lack access to health care and that’s because of cost.

He would like to see reform focus on improving health, not just care.

“If we just look at health care and how we treat people once they are ill, costs are never going to get controlled. The reality is it’s a continuum,” he said. “It’s not one day you are healthy and the next day you are sick. More often it’s you are gradually getting worse. Often, your health declines because of health behaviors.

“Let’s put that into the model, so we really truly can control costs.”

He is concerned that there will be unintended consequences of reform such as even higher costs. He also fears losing funding for the health department, which works to prevent illness and educate the public.

Partridge said public health funding gets put in a big pot along with Medicare, Medicaid, and now possibly a new public insurance plan.

“I fear we are going to get squeezed out,” he said.

He is hopeful though. There has been a trust fund for public health that’s been part of the reform.

“That’s one of the good pieces that I’ve seen in the legislation,” he said. “As I understand it, it would be potential money that local health departments could use to keep their doors open and keep staff. As you know, we keep losing staff left and right.”

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