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Checkup Time: Chronic Disease and Wellness in America
Jan 29, 2014
Publisher: Milken Institute

This is an update to our groundbreaking 2007 report, An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease -- Charting a New Course to Save Lives and Increase Productivity and Economic Growth, which has served continuously as a source of information for journalists and policy makers.

In 2007, we quantified the economic and business costs of seven of the most common chronic diseases - cancer (broken into several types), diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, pulmonary conditions, and mental disorders - and the potential impact on employers, the government, and the nation's economy. Visit the Milken Institute Chronic Disease Index, an interactive collection of data on health conditions, contributing factors and costs, viewable by state, condition, and related factors.

Our new report depicts the actual economic burden associated with five out of seven diseases and shows that chronic diseases cost the nation even more in recent years than we had forecast using historical trends. The economic burden associated with five of the most common chronic diseases was $28 billion greater than we'd predicted. This unexpected cost is due to increasing prevalence of these chronic, preventable conditions among Americans. The leading driver: obesity.

There is some good news, however. Treatment expenditures per patient and heart disease prevalence are lower than the gloomier projections in our last report. (We believe heart disease has diminished due to reduced smoking rates.) But the bad news remains: for all other diseases, the number of reported cases rose beyond the projection we based on historical trends, and actual treatment costs and productivity losses exceeded estimates.

The report includes recommendations for improving outcomes and reducing costs.