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Chronic Conditions Pose Growing Health, Economic and Equity Challenges

Key Points:
Chronic conditions affect 6 in 10 adults and cause 7 in 10 deaths in the United States.
Across the economy, care for chronic and mental health conditions accounts for 90% of U.S. health care spending.
Lower-income workers and people of color have disproportionately high rates of chronic illness due to continuing structural barriers, worsening their overall health and creating larger economic costs.
Chronic conditions can also reduce people’s ability to work and earn income, decreasing productivity and creating wage gaps.

Chronic health conditions impose significant burdens on the daily lives and economic well-being of those who live with them. These illnesses, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as those lasting a year or more and restricting daily life and/or requiring continuous medical attention, include heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, among others. They also have a large impact on the country as a whole, creating sizeable health care costs and reducing economic productivity.

Addressing the prevalence of these conditions and ensuring that people have access to preventative, management and curative measures will both improve people’s health and reduce economic strain. Congress can help by making health insurance more affordable, cutting medication costs and funding innovation-focused health care initiatives to ensure the better care, prevention and treatment of chronic illnesses.

Read the full report.