Monday, November 24, 2008

CEO Council - Health Care

“What should President Obama do? As he prepares to take office, the Wall Street Journal convened some of the country’s top CEOs and policy makers to come up with priorities for the new administration and Congress. [The #1 recommendation from the group was] ‘Fight Obesity: Use the presidential office to drive home the prevention message. Make reducing the obesity epidemic the top priority for the new surgeon general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while addressing race-based health disparities in obesity and other health care reforms.’ Jeffrey Kindler Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Inc: ‘We should be investing. We should obviously not spend money on wasteful things, but where we can invest in prevention, we must be doing so because we believe in the long run it will pay for itself. If we can’t measure that and define it, we won’t get anywhere.’ Denise Cortese, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic wrote: ‘This was an interesting discussion. It came up in the realm of prevention, but the obesity component so highly resonated with the group that it rose as a point all by itself. The issue of education, the issue of physical exercise, the issue of having physical activity as part of the school activities all became important components of this discussion, because the estimates of unfunded liabilities that we have in the future, particularly for Medicare, do not include the impact of obesity. No one's really estimated that yet.’ Senator Baucus - Chairman of Senate Finance Committee, seen as one of the top architects for health care reform efforts in the Congress, wrote: ‘I know the problem of obesity. I got to tell you, I think that it is tepid. I just don't think that a bully pulpit is going to be enough to sufficiently fight obesity. We're going to have to have incentives in here. We're going to have to have teeth in here.’ Jeffery Kindler wrote: ‘We have to really put our monies where our mouth is. If we believe that by investing in prevention and wellness, we will ultimately save money, increase productivity, increase jobs, improve the economy, then the Congressional Budget Office ought to be able to find a way to support that.’”

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