(A Populist Capitalist Blog)
If your idea of preventive health care is behavioral——eat better and less, exercise more, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, wear a seatbelt and a motorcycle helmet——then yes, preventive health care saves LOTS of money.
If your idea of preventive health care is medical——more tests, lots of screenings and consultations with expensive follow-up treatments for those found to be at greater risk (but not actually sick)——then preventive health care COSTS lots of money. And if you follow the medical news, you know how often yesterday’s hyper-marketed, freshly-patented, uber-expensive magic bullet treatment often ends up being of doubtful validity after follow-up studies fail to find the promised benefit. Interestingly, surveys show that the popularity within the medical community of various costly surgeries and invasive procedures varies greatly across the country without any discernible correlation in the local health.
Economic truth: Every dollar of medical care is a dollar of revenue for someone, someone you can bet who is loath to lose that dollar. And in the complex and often confusing world of medical care, you can bet that “someone” will be lobbying hard with a blizzard of bought and paid for “scientific studies” to protect his or her dollar of revenue.
“Savings” due to preventive health care is one way that many proponents of universal health care propose to pay for the staggering cost of such proposals. Before we turn on the financial spigot, it is important to realize that such savings may be illusionary.