Medicare Costs Can Be Reduced Through Preventive Care

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PhysicianJohn Knowles in 1975 wrote a book identifying the lack of emphasis onpreventive care as a shortcoming of the U.S. health care system, and sincethen, "the shift toward prevention and detection has been salutary butinsufficient," Robert Goldberg, vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, writes in a Washington Times opinion piece.

Goldberg writes,"In general, ... more people regard themselves in good to excellent healthnow than about a decade ago," adding, "We can thank spending onmedical technologies that delay or prevent the emergence of disease for many ofthese gains."

Goldberg continues, "Indeed, Medicare cost could be controlled by spendingmore" on innovative medical technologies "and by keeping peoplehealthy." According to Goldberg, "As the genetic variations thatpredict our risk of disease and response to treatment are translated into testsand treatment, the waste from trial and error or unproductive intervention willfall as well."

However, "there is a lot we can do without much effortto save money and improve health," such as "[m]ore prevention,shifting care to lower-cost settings and rewarding people for healthierliving" (Goldberg, Washington Times, 5/12).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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