Ribble Works Across the Aisle to Help Lower Health Care Costs

Congressman Ribble, along with fellow Wisconsin Congressman Mark Pocan, introduced bipartisan legislation that would give the Congressional Budget Office the tools they need to help Congress curb rising health care costs. Programs like Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government's largest and most important health care programs, are particularly impacted by the additional costs of care - and its largely due to the increase of chronic diseases like Diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. The Long-Term SCORE Act (H.R. 4444) will help members of Congress have more information about programs that will help prevent these diseases from affecting so many Americans, as well as promote medical research programs to help find cures for diseases, all while working to help lower health care costs.

     Medicare Dollars Used to Treat Chronic Diseases           Alzheimer's Spending on Care Vs. Research

      Alzheimer's Spending Increases Over Time                 Medicare Spending Will Rise Over the Decade

Source: National Institute of Health                                Source: Congressional Budget Office

Outside Organizations Supporting H.R. 4444:

Campaign to End Obesity Action Fund
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
American College of Gastroenterology
American College of Preventive Medicine
American Council on Exercise
American Family Children’s Hospital
American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
American Society of Bariatric Physicians
Arena Pharmaceuticals
Hepatitis Foundation International
International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association
Johnson & Johnson
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
National Center for Weight and Wellness
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Recreation and Parks Association
National Transitions of Care Coalition
Obesity Action CoalitionOrexigen Therapeutics
Sports and Fitness Industry Association
The Obesity Society
United States Soccer Foundation
University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
Vivus, Inc.
Weight Watchers International
YMCA of the USA

Top Economists Support the Long-Term SCORE Act.
More than 60 economists support the Ribble legislation. Click here to view the list.

To read more about this legislation, please read the articles and op-eds below...

1. Green Bay Press Gazette: Ribble, Pocan Team Up On Long-Term Approach to Medical Research Funding

Rep. Reid Ribble calls himself a “budgeteer” and can often be heard ruminating on the fiscal benefits of such banal-sounding topics as inter-modal transportation.

So when the Green Bay-area Republican decided to tackle the issues of chronic diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s, he approached it as a number-cruncher. The product of his work —the “Long-Term Studies of Comprehensive Outcomes and Returns for the Economy Act” —was slated to be introduced Wednesday.

The bill would provide $5 million annually to create and run a division within the Congressional Budget Office that would focus on predicting the costs —and benefits —of legislation in the long term, say 20, 30 or even 40 years out. The intent is that those predictions would show that investing in areas like medical research pays for itself in the long run...

To read more, please click here.

2. Appleton Post Crescent: Thumbs Up to Reps. Ribble and Pocan

Thumbs Up: To Rep. Reid Ribble and Rep. Mark Pocan, for their bipartisan approach to federal medical research funding.

Ribble, R-Sherwood, and Pocan, D-Madison, introduced a bill this week that would provide $5 million for the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government’s nonpartisan number-crunching agency, to estimate the costs and benefits of legislation for several decades. Currently, the CBO makes estimates for the next 10 years.

Their goal, as it affects medical research, is to show that investing in it will pay off for the nation in the long term.

It’s a different approach — one worth pursuing. Federal money for medical research is vital. Ribble and Pocan deserve credit for trying to make it a higher priority.

To view the article, please click here.

3. Op-Ed: Congress Needs Better Information
By: Congressmen Reid Ribble and Mark Pocan
Published by: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 19, 2014

Recently, President Barack Obama released his budget proposal for the upcoming year. Among the many elements of this proposal were recommendations for creating savings in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health programs — by his estimate, about $402 billion of savings over a decade. Assuming that number is correct, what is missing from the budget is a clear sense of how we can find savings to shore up health care programs for the next 50 years.

As health care spending continues to climb, one way to cut down on costs in the long run is through investments in research to prevent and control devastating diseases that affect millions of families and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. These investments may have a short-term cost but reap long-term benefits for the bottom line and the overall health quality of every American.

Click here to read more of the op-ed.

4. Op-Ed: Give the CBO Long-Range Tools
By: Alex Brill, Former House Ways and Means Chief Economist
April 16, 2014

Congress regularly weighs policy reforms that affect our national economic mooring for decades, but the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is limited in its official scoring to a 10-year budget horizon. It’s time to give the agency tasked with estimating the cost of Congressional policy proposals the resources it needs to present long-term budget projections to Capitol Hill.

A bill introduced last week by Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) would do just that, by creating a new division within CBO tasked solely with long-term budget scoring. The bill is particularly timely as the House recently passed budget-reform proposals that would require CBO to undertake additional long-term analyses.

Click here to read more of the op-ed.

5. Op-Ed: Traditional Budgeting Fails To Account For The Changing Face Of America
By: Elena Rios, President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association
May 23, 2014

The United States has been undergoing a major demographic shift over the past four decades, and by 2042, the various “minority” communities will in the aggregate make up the majority of our country.  That has real implications not only for things like immigration policy, but also – and critically – for population health considerations.  And it’s time that Congress started thinking about its health policy decisions in ways that recognize this coming demographic reality.

Click here to read more of the op-ed.