What would be the cost benefit to society for the early detection and treatment of diseases? Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In today’s society, that statement is very true. Millions of dollars are spent in the treatment of diseases. It is definitely more cost effective to do annual screenings and testing than it is to treat a disease that has already manifested. Once a person has the disease, it becomes very costly. The patient has to go through testing in order to control the disease.
They may have to take medication as well. X-rays, lab tests, MRIs, medication and multiple doctor visits all add up and can be costly for the patient as well as for the insurance company. That is why insurance premiums are so high. The insurance companies have to pay out millions of dollars each year for the treatment of diseases. That’s why they are advocates about early detection and prevention. Insurance companies tend to pay for all wellness visits and any visits they deem as preventative.
They pay for annual pap smears, mammograms, bone density scans, flu and pneumonia shots and the like. It is because it is cheaper for them to try and prevent a disease by encouraging their subscribers to take an active role in their health and seek preventative care than to pay the expenses for the treatment of a disease. It is usually when a patient is seeking treatment for an illness that the insurance requires them to pat against their deductible. Many communities offer free flu shots around the beginning of the flu season.
The reasoning is that by getting the shot, people will be able to lessen or prevent the likelihood of them getting sick. People are able to go to their local drugstore or clinic to get their shot for the season. Many people see the doctor because they did not get their shot and are feeling miserable. An article in the New York Times stated that, “Better preventive medicine and emergency care have already caused a 25 percent decline in heart-disease deaths since the mid-1980’s. ” People are changing their lifestyle in order to have better health.
They are quitting smoking, eating healthier and exercises. Because of this, many people are able to stop taking their medication for hypertension and diabetes just to name a few. “Lack of insurance is only one of the two huge problems with health care. The other is the perverse system of incentives that nudges doctors and patients toward expensive tests and procedures when cheaper preventive measures might actually produce better results. Partly as a result, costs are rising rapidly for the 250 million people who do have insurance. (Leonhardt, 2007) Doctors are losing money because people are becoming healthier. Medicare pays millions each year for tests and procedures that have not been proven to prevent or cure a disease. The push in the government is to reduce the number of uninsured. Because they are uninsured, they are less likely to seek preventative treatment. Unfortunately, according to the article, these are the cheapest patients because they will die before costly medical treatments are needed. In conclusion, I feel that the more we can do to prevent a disease, the better off we are as a country.
Right now, it is costing us more in taxes and insurance premiums in order to cover the cost incurred by the underinsured or uninsured. A universal health plan has been proposed by many states and would beneficial to all expect the doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and the manufacturers of high tech medical equipment. The driving force of the mighty dollar will no longer be there as an incentive. ? Reference Leonhardt, D. (2007, January 24). What’s a pound of prevention worth? , New York Times, Retrieved January 22, 2009, from http://www. nytimes. com/2007/01/24/business/24leonhardt. html? _r=1
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