The Counterintuitive Facts On Preventive Care

by Patrick Appel

On Friday the CBO released a letter regarding the costs and benefits of preventative care and government wellness programs. The extra tests tend to increase spending overall but are worth it:

[J]ust because a preventive service adds to total spending does not mean that it is a bad investment. Experts have concluded that a large fraction of preventive care adds to spending but should be deemed “cost-effective,” meaning that it provides clinical benefits that justify those added costs: Roughly 60 percent of the preventive services examined in the review cited above have additional costs that many in the health care community consider to be reasonable relative to their clinical benefits. Still, providing that preventive care would represent a net use of resources rather than a source of funding for other activities.