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  • Experts Say Preventive Care Produces Limited Savings

    While some disease-prevention programs do produce net savings, such as childhood immunizations and counseling adults about using baby aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease, most preventive care does not save money, says an article by Reuters News.

    Following the release yesterday of a new report from Trust for America's Health (TFAH) that calls for putting more resources into preventive care, economic experts challenged TFAH's position on preventive care's role in reducing health care spending. (See related article posted in News Now tilted "TFAH Releases Strategies to Improve Nation's Health in 4 Years.")

    "Preventive care is more about the right thing to do" because it spares people the misery of illness, economist Austin Frakt of Boston University told Reuters. "But it's not plausible to think you can cut health care spending through preventive care. This is widely misunderstood."

    A 2010 study in Health Affairs, for instance, calculated that if 90% of the US population used proven preventive services, more than do now, it would save only 0.2% of health care spending.

    One reason why preventive care does not save money, say health economists, is that some of the best-known forms don't actually improve someone's health. These low- or no-benefit measures include annual physicals for healthy adults.

    The second reason preventive care brings so few cost savings is the large number of people who need to receive a particular preventive service in order to avert a single expensive illness.

    A promising approach is to target preventive care at those most likely to develop a chronic disease, not at low-risk people. Such "smart" prevention increases the chances of preventing expensive diseases and saving money.

    In contrast, unthinking expansion of preventive medicine is the wrong prescription, the article says.


    • I believe that preventive health care is vital to the future health of our country and to each and every generation that will receive the benefits. I recommend physical activity as well as physical therapy be provided to individuals needing our highly qualified services.

      Posted by Heidi Harris on 2/2/2013 12:22 PM

    • The single most preventative measure that any individual may do is exercise. There does not need to be a huge investment in educating the at large populous in structured programs. What needs the emphasis is the education in general health starting in kindergarden and lasting through grade 12. The education to the youth of America should be delivered by those educated in health. As they are indoctrinated in a healthy life style the behaviors of the general public will be seen to change.

      Posted by Mark Allen -> AFT]> on 2/3/2013 10:15 AM

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