Preventative Care does not Necessarily Save Money

One of the common solutions proposed for the increasing cost of health care in the US is "preventative care". The argument supposes that if we prevent illness, we will save money. I think that's too simplistic.

The least costly patient is one that is apparently healthy his whole life, pays into the system, whether it be private insurance or government program, and drops dead suddenly of a heart attack.

A few years ago, there was a study that showed that smokers are net contributors to insurance programs because most lung cancer patients die within a year or two of being diagnosed. Little money is spent at the end of their lives. A cost-saving strategy might be one that encouraged smoking. (Unfortunately, I can't remember where or when I saw the study.) I imagine that the same is true for other deadly diseases such as pancreatic cancer.

Whether preventative action X or screening test Y actually saves money in the long run is an empirical question that can only be answered by performing scientific studies. The answer is in a constant state of flux because of the development of new drugs and technologies.

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On the face of it,

On the face of it, I don't see how asking patients to visit regularly so doctors can find things to bill to their insurance companies is seriously considered a way to reduce health care costs.

As you say, the argument is simplistic--so much so as to seem disingenuous. Obviously, the best way to "save" money for the party that runs the health care system is to take payments through coercion and provide no service at all. There is a big gaping hole in the middle of the argument--who exactly is that collective "we" saving the money?