Guest opinion: Public health delivers big return on investment

August 26, 2012
by John Felton
Billings Gazette


It is well known that the United States spends a lot of money on medical care — more than $8,000 for each man, woman and child, or about $2.6 trillion in 2010. What do we have to show for our investment? Because we spend twice as much on medical care as what the 14 wealthiest nations in the world spend, does that mean we are healthier? No. The U.S. did not even make the top 20 on Bloomberg’s recent ranking of the healthiest countries.

How do we become a healthier nation? Investing in public health is part of the answer. Of the more than $8,000 health expenditure for every American, only $250 is spent on public health. This is alarming when we consider how many medical care expenditures can be prevented through primary prevention activities. Primary prevention is public health.


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