Monday, June 15, 2009

Prevention Won't Save on Health Costs

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the belief that a focus on preventive health won't save on healthcare costs. In the article, "Prevention Efforts Provide No Panacea on Health Costs" noted that

  • The Congressional Budget Office, in a December report, concluded that greater use of preventive care would at best generate modest reductions in costs over 10 years, and might even result in increases.
Saying that prevention will save money is the wrong goal. What prevention does is free up dollars that would have been spent on other treatments and interventions that would have occurred without being proactive and allow them to be spent on improving coverage. As Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke noted in 2008 when addressing the Senate Finance Committee on Healthcare Reform, "that improving access and quality may increase rather than reduce total costs" and the better question may be, "whatever we spend, [are] we are getting our money's worth?"

Without improving prevention, both the insured and uninsured aren't getting their money's worth.

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