THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Ultimate Health Care Solution, and What You Can and Must Do

By Lou Weisbach & Dr. Richard Boxer: Co-originators of American Center for Cures Initiative.

Now is the time to answer the urgent pleas of all Americans: focus on cures. The American Center for Cures (ACC) initiative will strike a permanent, devastating blow to the root cause of the healthcare crisis: disease. As Carol Marin of the Chicago Sun-Times recently said, "the plan is revolutionary in a time that calls for nothing less."

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has made remarkable discoveries about the fundamentals of biology. But the time has come to apply that knowledge. The NIH basic research is essential in finding the pieces of the puzzle. The ACC will put the puzzle together. It's time America used its genius, once again, to proactively do the right thing for its citizens and the world.

The ACC will be a public/private mission-driven accountable research institute within the NIH with a by-pass budget and led by the Director of the Cures (formerly named the Director of the NIH), a cabinet-level position. The new position will demonstrate the priority and commitment of the administration and the American people. This will represent real change we can believe in and that will touch our families.

The ACC will fund high risk/high reward research on specific diseases chosen by a Cures Council. Through its Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (similar to DARPA), it will focus on new pathways towards prevention, early diagnosis and cures through research and streamlining the clinical trials process.

Each disease chosen by Cures Council will have a CEO who will be accountable and responsible for a cure within five to seven years. Each disease unit will lead a global mission that will invest in researchers and research institutions to find answers to specific questions. There will also be specially designated funding and coordination with other agencies, institutes, academic centers and the private sector, preventing the "Valley of Death" for under-capitalized, highly creative biomedical companies.

Americans spend at least a trillion dollars treating the effects of diseases and less than five percent of that preventing and finding cures to those diseases. It is not rational. Curing diseases will save taxpayers $400 to $500 billion annually and dramatically reduce the cost of health insurance. This is the 21st Century, proactive, can-do American approach.

The ACC will implement a global mission to cure three diseases within the next five to seven years, including but not limited to: diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, MS, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and other various forms of cancer, cystic fibrosis, mental disorders, AIDS, autism, etc..

Action Steps for You

If you believe that it's unacceptable that the percentage of Americans dying of cancer has not significantly changed since 1950. If you believe it's unacceptable that no major non-infectious diseases have been reliably, consistently cured in your lifetime. If you believe that the promise of a new cure on your news show never seems to happen. Then demand change. Our representatives in Washington work for us and are spending our money. On behalf of more than the 110 million Americans currently afflicted with disease, demand change. On behalf of our families, demand change. Let all members of the House and Senate know that there cannot be a comprehensive solution to heath care without dealing with the underlying root problem, disease. Demand that the American Center for Cures initiative be at the forefront of health care reform legislation.

It's time for America to start tweeting, Facebooking, writing, and calling to demand change. The power to cure resides within every American's determination to drive this mission forward.

Albert Einstein once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

We can and must do better.

By Lou Weisbach & Dr. Richard Boxer: Co-originators of American Center for Cures Initiative.