01.27.09

ENZI: ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE SERVICES CRITICAL FOR RURAL PATIENTS

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member of the SenateHealth, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today said that comprehensivehealth care reform must include efforts to ensure that rural and frontier areas can meet theirhealth care needs, including access to primary care physicians and preventive services.

“For families in rural and frontier areas, health care reform means more than justexpanding insurance coverage,” Enzi said. “Comprehensive health care reform must includeexpanding access to all types of health care providers, particularly life-saving and cost-savingpreventive services,” Enzi said.

Before today’s HELP Committee hearing titled, “Access to Prevention and Public Healthfor High Risk Populations,” Enzi said that his comprehensive health care reform bill, 10 Steps to Transform Health Care in America, emphas the importance of prevention, and takes steps toexpand access to primary care services in rural and underserved areas.

“We need to move our system from sick care to health care – and that means focusing onprevention, not intervention,” Enzi said. “It’s common sense – an ounce of prevention is worth apound of cure. Any earnest effort to expand access to health insurance, reduce health care costs,and improve quality of care must include targeted provisions to prevent and manage chronicdiseases, and must ensure that patients in all areas of the country have access to these services.”

Enzi noted that chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, account for 70 percent of all deaths in the United States – but many of these illnesses can be prevented ormanaged through lifestyle changes and regular health screenings. “Chronic diseases are among the most common, most costly, and most deadlyillnesses that patients face – but they are also often the most preventable and most treatable. Byhelping patients across the country, particularly in underserved populations, prevent and managethese deadly diseases, we can save lives and money.”

####

Press Contact

Craig Orfield (202) 224-6770