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Panel Urges Role for Prevention in Health Care Overhaul Legislation

December 10, 2008
by Adjoa Adofo, CQ Staff
Congressional Quarterly

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said Wednesday he expected a major health overhaul bill and comprehensive prevention measures to be on the table in the 111th Congress.

"With prevention programs in place we can get a return right away in the next year, not 20 or 30 years from now," said Harkin at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the role of prevention in health care. Harkin chaired the hearing in place of Chairman Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.

In his testimony, Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, recommended that lawmakers include money in an economic stimulus package for prevention programs and to train people in public health. Levi also called for a universal wellness benefit for the uninsured that would include physical exams, screenings and a care plan as well as immediate care for the sick.

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