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Gov. Sanford Touts Prevention in Visit to Hollings Cancer Center

Location: Charleston, SC

Gov. Sanford Touts Prevention in Visit to Hollings Cancer Center


Gov. Mark Sanford today said prevention and early treatment were two "essential keys" in meeting South Carolina's health care challenge. During a tour of the Hollings Cancer Center on the campus of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the governor outlined proposals included in his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2005-06 aimed at "better targeting the dollars we spend as a state on both of those fronts."

"The bottom line is we're tied for tenth in the country in what we spend per person on public health care yet we rank 47th in the nation in the overall health of our citizens," Gov. Sanford said. "That's not effectively meeting the health care needs that are out there and it's not efficiently using taxpayers' dollars. In addition to streamlining our health care delivery system through restructuring - as our administration has proposed in its last two Executive Budgets - a huge part of that is focusing more of our efforts on prevention. Most importantly, though, it boils down to choices at the individual level. That's what our Family Fitness Challenge is all about, encouraging South Carolinians to make healthier decisions in their day-to-day lives."

South Carolina currently ranks ninth in the nation in smoking, and, not coincidentally, 14th in lung cancer rates. Our state ranks 12th in the nation in adults who engage in no physical activity and, not coincidentally, 7th in the number of obese and overweight citizens. South Carolina ranks second in the nation in stroke death, fifth in prevalence of diabetes, and 23rd in heart disease deaths. Under Gov. Sanford's budget, $1 million in additional research dollars would go to the Hollings Cancer Center. Another $1 million is devoted to expanding availability to early treatment for breast and cervical cancer among low-income South Carolinians. The governor's budget also allocates an additional $5 million in recurring general fund dollars to Prevention Partnership Grants to be administered through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The House budget funds these grants at $4 million, but in non-recurring, one-time money.

"A dollar spent on prevention and treatment early in the process is often a hundred dollars you don't have to spend on treatment down the road, when you're catching something late in the game," Gov. Sanford said.

Click here for a chart (PDF) showing South Carolina's rankings on overall health and per capita health care spending compared to other states, according to the United Health Foundation's 2004 Annual Report.

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