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Why Healthcare Policy Needs To Focus On Prevention with Dr. Anand Parekh

By Dr. Mark Hyman

We have the best hospitals, most highly trained doctors, and people come from all over the world to get medical treatments in the US. Yet, we’re lagging behind almost every other country in health metrics, including life expectancy and infant mortality. That’s because we’re not being set up for success: The policies and systems we rely on for healthcare aren’t supporting prevention, education, and accessibility for all our communities. We are spending a massive amount of money on healthcare (1 of every 5 federal dollars) but we’re not spending on the social services to invest in lifestyle wellness that prevents disease in the first place. This week on The Doctor’s Farmacy, I sit down with Dr. Anand Parekh to talk about solutions to our country’s healthcare crisis and examine what’s already working. Dr. Parekh is the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) chief medical advisor, providing clinical and public health expertise across the organization, particularly in the areas of aging, prevention, and global health. Prior to joining BPC, he completed a decade of service at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As a HHS deputy assistant secretary for health from 2008 to 2015, he developed and implemented national initiatives focused on prevention, wellness, and care management. He has spoken widely and written extensively on a variety of health topics and is the author of a new book entitled Prevention First – Policymaking for a Healthier America.This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market. Thrive Market has made it so easy for me to stay healthy, even with my intense travel schedule. Not only does Thrive offer 25 to 50% off all of my favorite brands, but they also give back. For every membership purchased, they give a membership to a family in need, and they make it easy to find the right membership for you and your family. You can choose from 1-month, 3-month, or 12-month plans. And right now, Thrive is offering all Doctor's Farmacy listeners a great deal, you’ll get up to $20 in shopping credit when you sign up, to spend on all your own favorite natural food, body, and household items. And any time you spend more than $49 you’ll get free carbon-neutral shipping. All you have to do is head over to thrivemarket.com/Hyman.Here are more of the details from our interview: -Why life expectancy and other health metrics are so poor in the United States (5:09)-Why policymakers do not focus on prevention and proactive policies to improve health (13:21)-Personal responsibility in a toxic health environment (19:24)-Challenges with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or our food stamp system (21:06)-Social needs vs social determinants of health (28:12)-Obesity: the public health crisis of our century (31:46)-Dr. Parekh’s 5 key takeaways for policymakers (38:48)-Targeting and creating pathways for existing healthcare programs and interventions that have been shown effective (47:02)-Why the government is so important in scaling healthcare solutions (52:04)-The need for clinical-community linkages (52:31)Find Dr. Parekh’s book, Prevention First: Policymaking for a Healthier America here.  Check out the work being done by at the Bipartisan Policy Center here.

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