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Chronic Diseases Cost State Billions
Cancer, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases cost the West Virginia economy $10.5 billion during 2003 in lost productivity and absenteeism, according to a first-of-its-kind study.
The Milken Institute study explains the U.S. economy lost more than $1 trillion during 2003, a figure that could swell to $6 trillion by mid-century.
Steve Roberts, president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, said, "It's very clear that (chronic diseases) have an enormous impact. The problem is exacerbated in West Virginia because we have an older population and a population that's not as responsible for our health as we should be."
For the past several years, the state Chamber has worked with organized labor, the West Virginia Council of Churches and others on health care matters, Roberts said. Though the Milken Institute study figures are high, they come as no surprise, he said.
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