Can preventative medicine really be cost effective? Well, I don’t think it will fix the budget, but it is astounding that we spend billions of dollars on health care in this country. Let’s face it, our country is getting sicker and the money spent doesn’t seem to be lowering the incidence of chronic disease. We are a country that would rather treat than prevent.
Living well is an investment! We need to work at it and be proactive in taking charge and responsibility of our own health care.
Some disease prevention programs (vaccines) do produce net savings. But economists say that preventative medicine does not save money. OK, so annual physicals don’t save us money. But the people that get physicals every year are the healthy ones. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has recommended against many routine screening tests, except in certain situations such as testicular cancer (PSA), mammograms and ovarian cancer screening. Instead of screening tests yearly, it is recommended to individualize these tests to high risk patients. Makes sense…
Economists also feel that you need to treat a significant amount of people to avoid a single expensive illness or save one person’s life. Of course, this is exactly what the insurance company’s reasoning is for the company’s that don’t cover preventative services.
In the U.S., we deal mainly with chronic diseases. Preventing these diseases are best accomplished outside the clinical setting. Prevention is a lifestyle thing. We need to keep moving and avoid junk food. We all know what to do. It’s the “doing” part thats difficult.
The bottom line is this…
It doesn’t really matter whether taking good care of ourselves cuts healthcare spending or not. Ask yourself how you want to spend your later years? Visiting the doctor less often, on maybe a few supplements and being able to stay independent and productive? Or, feeling tired, achy and less alert while being on multiple prescription drugs and dependent on others. It’s your choice.
If we take care of ourselves, then our country will benefit in the long run too!