Most of medicine is focused on curing, rather than preventing disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how little we invested in the public health infrastructure that could have been mobilized to carry our contact tracing, isolation of contacts and necessary care of those who became ill. Depending on what is included in the estimate, only from 3% to 9% of health expenditures go for prevention, yet 75% of our health care costs are related to treating preventable conditions. Even though studies confirm that health promotion and disease prevention programs are cost-effective, saving more than $3.00 for every $1.00 invested, most U.S. health expenditures are directed toward curing people already sickened by disease, not to their prevention.
The U.S. spends about $4 trillion a year on health with half of that spending for hospital care, physician and clinical services, and 10% for prescription drugs. About 5% of the population — those most frail or ill — account for nearly half the spending in a given year, whereas half the population, (the group we all want to be in) has little or no health care costs, accounting for just 3% of spending. We pay for care because individuals need it, and we empathize with their plight. But we fail to invest in preventive measures, for example, diabetes prevention and smoking cessation programs, in part because the people who will benefit are not yet sick, unknown, unseen, and therefore, easier to ignore.
In a future blog I will present a Lifestyle Checklist that can serve as a guide to putting in place the Building blocks of Health and optimizing your chances of attaining and keeping good health.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in the book or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Wellness with a Lifestyle Checklist. References for most of the health related information in this blog can be found in the book, The Building Blocks of Health now available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Building-Blocks-Health-Lifestyle-Checklist-ebook/dp/B08RC3XRCY/. Copyright 2020 by J. Joseph Speidel.