Study: Investing in Prevention Programs Can Save Billions

July 18, 2008
by Whitney Blair Wyckoff
CQ Healthbeat

Investing $10 per person per year in community-based disease prevention could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years, according to a report from the Trust for America’s Health. “America’s approach to health care is fundamentally flawed,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. He called the U.S. health care system a “sick care system” — one in which illness, rather than prevention, is the primary concern. “We spend peanuts for prevention.” If the five-year projection is realized, there would be a return of $5.60 for every $1 invested, according to the report. Medicare could save more than $5 billion, Medicaid could save more than $1.9 billion, and private payers could save more than $9 billion, the report found.