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CDC in Health Reform

I attended a meeting today where the new Director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Dr. Marcus Plescia, gave an update on the organizations efforts and future direction given the prospect of health reform. The $300M Division focuses on many prevention and early detection programs, particularly for the uninsured, and it was very interesting to hear how they are planning to change their perspective once we achieve near-universal coverage.

Though continued screening programs for those without insurance will be needed for several years following the passage of a bill, the Division is already beginning to look at how states can use the funds in different ways once the majority of individuals have insurance coverage. I spoke with Dr. Plescia after his presentation, and as a fellow MPH he described to me some of the public health models that the Division was pursuing like awareness campaigns, professional education, and cancer cluster tracking.

While considering the many CBO scores, coverage expansion models, potential defecits, and other policy implications, I think it is important to be reminded of all the secondary benefits stemming from reform. Examples like this one federal Department show the potential for not only dynamic use of existing appropriations, but more importantly unleashing strategies to truly address health disparities and prevention efforts to improve the quality of life for all Americans.

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