Magazine article USA TODAY

How Cost Effective Are Prevention Services?

Magazine article USA TODAY

How Cost Effective Are Prevention Services?

Article excerpt

Prevention is better than cure; however, when it comes to screening for cancer, research published in The Milbank Quarterly shows that U.S. health services are not as cost effective as international--and publicly run --counterparts. For instance, while three to four times more cancer screening takes place in the U.S. than in the Netherlands, the rates of mortality are similar. The research was conducted by Martin L. Brown from the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., alongside colleagues from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

"Since 2010, new laws in the U.S. require private health insurance plans and Medicare to cover preventive services with no deductibles or copayments," Brown points out.

"Preventive medicine is seen as being cost-effective compared to the costs sustained through illness. However, practical cost saving depends on how the preventive services are implemented."

The team focused on cervical cancer screening, which accounts for a small fraction of overall health care spending, but represents broader preventive health services. …

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