News and Commentary

Headlines on Deadline June 2010

The cumulative costs of care for people with Alzheimer’s disease will exceed $20 trillion (today’s dollars) from 2010 to 2050, assuming the absence of disease-modifying treatments (therapies that affect the disease, rather than just the symptoms). These daunting data are presented in the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Changing the Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Disease: A National Imperative.” The report also shows that the number of Americans age 65 and older who have this condition will increase from the 5.1 million today to 13.5 million by the middle of the century.... “Workers appreciate the value of the health care coverage their employers offer to them and their families,” says the National Business Group on Health’s president, Helen Darling. But more than a third would consider dropping that coverage if cheaper but similar coverage were to become available through other avenues, according to a survey conducted jointly by the NBGH and Hewitt Associates, involving more than 3,000 American workers. The survey found that 61 percent of Americans use employer-sponsored health care coverage and participate in healthy living and wellness programs. Nearly half plan or hope to continue to do so in the next three to five years.... Osteoporosis screening increased to 64 percent for women age 65 and over, according to the latest numbers in the “2009 National Healthcare Disparities Report” from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Back in 2001, it was only 34 percent. Two-thirds of the estimated 34 million Americans at risk of developing osteoporosis are women. The latest numbers from the agency indicated that Hispanic women had the most dramatic increase in screening, going from 22 percent to 55 percent, with African-American women also experiencing a significant increase in osteoporosis screening from 16 percent to 38 percent. The report also suggests that income is a factor in screening for osteoporosis, with only 46 percent of poor women having a screening test, compared to 80 percent of high income women in 2006.


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