Every child knows that aphoristic bit about prevention being better than cure. Cardiologists estimate that with an ideal combination of exercise, diet and preventive drugs, the risk of suffering a heart attack can be reduced by almost 80 percent. Increasingly, however, preventive medicine has become quite a costly thing for the doctors specializing in it.
The New York Times reports that, in this world of nutritionists, regular checkups, and personal health targets, there just isn’t enough incentive for substantial investment. But the larger picture, amidst sweeping reforms in providing health insurance nationwide, is that preventive care can actually help replace expensive procedures such as surgery and scans. The idea, of course, is straightforward: Rather than plowing money and time into treating, say, type 2 diabetes, why not spend earlier (and possibly less) on a healthy regimen that will potentially prevent onset?
The profile in the Times suggests that the simplest way to develop health insurance plans geared toward preventive care will most likely be through either local governments or small, pilot programs. For those of you (and us) who live in California and Massachusetts, recent progress in securing universal health insurance may mean that soon prevention will really take precedence over cure.
“What’s a Pound of Prevention Really Worth?” by David Leonhardt, January 24