Your Health: The Cost of Prevention

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With all the contentious debate over health care right now, Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: they want to encourage disease prevention. This stems from the idea that by investing some money up front, you can keep medical costs lower, saving money (and improving quality of life) down the road. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) authored a portion of a health bill focused on prevention and wellness and he sat down with The Takeaway's Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich to discuss his take on health care reform.

Then we turn to Louise Russell. Ms. Russell is a research professor at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her research challenges the idea that preventive medicine lowers the cost of medical care. The money we are investing in prevention may be doing little to improve the nation’s overall health.

"Much of this prevention does save lives, and that's our purpose here: to save lives. But we need to be spending our money as effectively as possible, and that means we need to look at each preventive intervention and say OK, it's usually going to cost us more. If we need to spend more, what's the most important thing to do for people's health?"
— Professor Louise Russell from Rutger's University on preventative healthcare