Rod Bremby, Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Bremby said the biggest problem is a misplaced emphasis on care rather than health.
“We as a society cannot afford increasing costs of care and must begin to focus on what we can do to stay well,” he said. “Chronic illness and disease, which accounts for conservatively 75 percent of our $2.2 trillion in national health care costs, can largely be avoided by focusing on avoiding the use of tobacco and tobacco exposure, eating healthy and getting regular physical activity.”
Bremby said he favors policies and incentives to facilitate behaviors to help keep people well.
“We spend a greater percentage of our lives in poor health than residents of any other industrialized nation,” he said. “Without any changes to the system, the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare Services projects the cost of health care in the U.S. will increase to $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years. We need to focus on reducing this cost through prevention. If it takes $1 trillion to save $2.2 trillion, it will be well worth the investment.”
His biggest fear is that lawmakers will focus on a short-term fix.
“We must begin to spend money turning off the tap rather than continuing to spend more than 95 percent of our expenditures mopping up the water on the floor. … We need transformation of the system from one of sick care to truly one of health care.”
Kansans weigh in on health care reform
- Have your say.
- Graham Bailey, vice president of public relations, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas
- Rod Bremby, Secretary, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
- Corrie Edwards, executive director, Kansas Health Consumer Coalition
- Jerry Kemberling, Unemployed, Lawrence
- Gene Meyer, CEO/president, Lawrence Memorial Hospital
- Marcia Nielsen, vice chancellor for public policy and planning, Kansas University Medical Center
- Sandy Praeger, Kansas insurance commissioner
- Jon Stewart, Director, LEO Center
- Judy Bellome, executive director of Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation and Hospice Care
- Dr. Alan Cowles, Social Security disability benefits advocate
- Marcia Epstein, director of Headquarters Counseling Center in Lawrence
- Dr. David Goering, medical director for Health Care Access
- Mitzi McFatrich, executive director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care
- Dan Partridge, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department director
- Margie Wakefield, small business owner