Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Focus on Health, Not Health Insurance

James Pinkerton, Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation has pinned a insightful blog noting that “with all the hand-wringing over the details of paying for health care, we’ve lost sight of the fact that any good effort to reform health reform care should actually try to improve the health of Americans.”

His posting takes on critics on the left and right who say prevention doesn’t work or doesn’t save money. Pinkerton rightly sees prevention as an investment that reflects a core purpose of a health care system; to maintain and restore a population to health.

“As Washington debates the minutiae of health care dollars and cents, we’re missing what’s clearly common sense. Better health is a good thing; it would be worth investing in even if it didn’t save money. But it’s clear that lots of prevention efforts have the added bonus that they do save money.”

And Pinkerton credits the science behind his opinion. “The research shows that starting early--like way before someone has advanced diabetes or late-stage lung cancer--is critical not only to the survival of the patient, but also to the biggest monetary savings. Targeting these problems means helping people quit smoking, eat more nutritiously, and get more exercise, which often don’t even involve going to the doctor’s office. The New York Academy of Medicine has identified dozens of low-cost programs around the country that have shown real results in reducing smoking rates, limiting diabetes, improving nutrition, and increasing exercise, which then in turn reduce rates of disease.

For those of us who believe prevention saves much more than money, Pinkerton’s commentary is a refreshing break from the naysayers who seem, with apologies Oscar Wilde, to know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

Ripley Forbes
Director, Legislative & Policy Advocacy
Partnership for Prevention

1 Comment:

  1. William said...
    thank you for the link to a great blog post. I agree completely that health is the bottom line, not dollars and cents.

    just stumbled upon this blog, great resource, thanks again!

Post a Comment