Health Experts Tout Prevention Programs, Urge CBO to Consider Prevention in Scoring

October 1, 2008
by By Leah Nylen, CQ Staff
Congressional Quarterly

Congress should encourage the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to consider prevention when scoring legislation to help spur adoption of prevention programs, said health experts during a briefing hosted by the American College of Preventive Medicine.

The CBO, which analyzes the cost of individual pieces of legislation and estimates the price tag over five years, requires hard evidence that a program will reduce costs and requires that results occur within the five-year window. However, because it is difficult to prove that a program, and not some other factor, has led to a change in behavior - for instance, the absence of cancer in a person who has quit smoking - and because of the five-year cap, prevention programs are not scored at their true value, said Richard Hamburg, the director of government relations for Trust for America's Health (TFAH).

View the full story (some sites require registration)