Congress needs better information

April 19, 2014
by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The impact these analyses have on the future of policy proposals is significant, particularly in the current political and economic environment. If a CBO estimate shows a particular policy would add significant costs to the federal government, the bill's chances of passage are diminished, regardless of whether the analysis contemplates any potential savings after 10 years. This model is insufficient for accurately analyzing the impacts of federal policy proposals.

Improvements in population health as well as disease education and prevention may entail significant up-front costs, but they have the potential to yield enormous savings to the federal government over a long-term horizon. We know modest improvements in health quality can yield significant economic impacts. For instance, research by the Trust for America's Health tells us a 5% reduction in population-wide body mass index (BMI) would yield savings in federal health programs of nearly $30 billion over just five years, nearly $160 billion in 10 years, and in excess of $610 billion over 20 years.

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