Save millions of lives and cut the outrageous financial costs of stress—$1 trillion a year—by making stress screening and management preventive services of the Affordable Care Act, covered by insurance.
Millions of Americans are fighting chronic diseases, suffering high anxiety, and struggling to pay astronomical medical bills, because the nation hasn’t addressed the health crisis behind the health care crisis: the invisible epidemic of stress. Did you know that 60% to 90% of all doctor visits are for stress-related problems? The total cost of stress to the nation and business is an astounding $1 trillion a year (Peter Schnall, U.C. Irvine)!
I started this petition because I have been stunned at what I have seen in the workplace—heart attacks at 29, nervous breakdowns at 35, people who have been hauled out of their offices on stretchers after heart attacks, who are on seven medications in the prime of their lives because of chronic stress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, stress plays a role in five out of the six leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents. We could save millions of lives, cut billions of dollars, and reduce the national debt by preventing and treating stress before it leads to cancer, heart attacks, or strokes. This is right in line with the Obama Administration’s National Prevention Strategy, which says that, “preventing disease and injuries is key to improving America’s health.”
The United Nations calls stress “the 21st-century health epidemic.” Yet most Americans have no access to insurance that covers mental and psychological issues, or it’s too costly to use. In most states job stress coverage has to be tied to a specific physical injury.
This is a national emergency that cries out for a remedy we already have: prevention and management. We know how to control stress. It’s time to make those tools available to every American.
I was inspired to start this petition by Dena Patrick, who discovered that part-time FEMA workers got no health benefits. She launched a Change.org petition that received 112,000 signatures, which sparked a change in policy. Those brave FEMA workers now get health benefits. We can do it too!
I call on President Obama and the Health and Human Services Department to make stress screening and management part of the preventive services covered under the Affordable Care Act. There are currently 16 preventive services covered by the ACA, from alcohol misuse to cholesterol screening. Stress prevention is one of the most critical preventive services of all, since stress leads to so many health problems.
We also call on the Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, to launch a national campaign to promote stress education and management. The goal is to cut stress with the same intensity and national focus that helped reduce smoking, which kills many fewer people each year than the illnesses driven by stress.
It’s time to take on the nation’s number one health menace: stress, and the insane costs that come with it. Will you join me in asking President Obama, Kathleen Sebelius, and Health and Human Services to add stress screening and management to the preventive services of the Affordable Care Act? Please sign the petition today and share with all your networks. I hope you’ll also join the effort at www.worktolive.info/stress-campaign, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/smashstress. Let’s build a healthier America.
Thank you very much!