The Value of Public Health to Our Lives and Pocketbooks
Ryan Summerlin April 2, 2013
The U.S. spends far more on health care than any other country, with such costs rising ten-fold from 1980 to 2010 and expected to rise faster than national income during the foreseeable future.
By adequately supporting public health and prevention, we can transform a health system that’s now focused on treating illness to one focused on preventing disease and promoting wellness.
This year the theme of National Public Health Week is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.” Much like the business world, ROI indicates the Return On Investments. Supporting evidence-based public health programs will result in healthier communities and reduced cost of care for illnesses that can be prevented.
Investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.
Each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths.
Routine childhood immunizations save $9.9 million in direct health care costs, save 33,000 lives and prevent 14 million cases of disease.
Citing the protective health benefits of breastfeeding, research finds that a minimum of $3.6 billion could be saved if more women began and continued to breastfeed their newborns through 6 months of age.
The cost of providing dental care for children enrolled in Medicaid and living in communities without fluoridation is twice as high as for children who receive the oral health benefits of drinking water fluoridation.
Good health doesn’t happen by chance. Good health is shaped and nurtured. Public health and prevention are critical pieces in creating a healthier nation. Let’s focus on the role of public health and prevention in our lives, our health and our pocketbooks. Poor health comes at a big price – for us all. But research shows that investments in evidence-based public health and prevention can make a big difference.
Make just one positive change a day to improve your health.
To learn more about National Public Health Week visit www.nphw.org or call Grand County Public at 970-725-3288