News from the House: Karen Rohr State Rep., District 31

In a previous newspaper article, I mentioned that ACA (Affordable Care Act) requires the market exchange to include prevention, wellness and chronic disease management be part of the State’s essential health benefit plans provided to the consumer. These plans were also to cover Pediatric services including oral and vision care.

By Karen Rohr State Rep., District 31

Posted Apil 4, 20114

At the January Health Care Reform Meeting, we heard statistics relative to prevention, wellness and chronic disease management within the state of ND.

Below I will provide you with the North Dakota obesity and chronic disease rates and related costs as reported by the nutrition and health consultant to the ND Department of Health.

Obesity: In 1990, ND obesity rates were less than 15% but in the past 20 years have increased to just under 30%; two thirds of North Dakotans are at unhealthy weight levels. Based on this data, we were informed that over the next 20 years in ND alone, obesity could contribute to 79,617 new cases of type 2 diabetes; 190,379 new cases of heart disease and stroke; 170,470 new cases of high blood pressure; 110,099 new cases of arthritis; and 26,762 new cases of obesity related cancer. It was suggested that if we lowered body mass index (BMIs) by 5%, ND could save 7.2% in healthcare costs. This equates to a savings of over one billion dollars by 2030.

Chronic Disease Management: ND Medicare (ages 65 & older) charges in 2008 were at $167 million for heart disease and stroke hospital discharges, equaling more than $22,000 per hospitalization.

Cancer is the leading cause of death for people ages 20 to 65. Cancer treatments cost state residents $274 million in 2012. Diabetes cost ND residents $400 million in direct (includes providers, professionals, hospital, Nursing Home costs) and indirect (lost productivity as a result of illness & death) costs in 2007.

Although these ND statistics look discouraging, we can make a difference by focusing on wellness and prevention. This requires each of us to take personal responsibility for maintaining our health and wellness by healthy eating, exercise and regular checkups by our primary care providers. If you want more specific or additional health information or data on North Dakota, go to chronicdisease.

Again, it is my pleasure to provide you with these legislative updates. I sincerely thank you for this opportunity! Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns.

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