Now that the Democrats have removed the distraction of abortion from the reform discussion, prevention of disease is the next step to improve Americans' health.
Prevention needs to be next move
Car wrecks, the leading killer of people 4 to 34 years old in the U.S., cause about $35 billion per year of medical expenses, comparable to the yearly costs of breast cancer. Smoking and obesity generate huge medical costs that will break the bank no matter how we structure the delivery system.
While curbing smoking and obesity can lessen disease—and their costs—in future years, changing risky driving can prevent injuries and lessen costs immediately: today, for the rest or this year and every year for many years to come.
I don’t smoke, let myself get fat or drive carelessly. I very much prefer to never be injured in a car wreck than to be worried about the competency and financial efficiency of the hospital looking after such injuries. Nor do I intend to suffer lung disease, heart disease, strokes or many other ailments. And, I am very, very inexpensive to our nation’s healthcare system.
Primary prevention of disease is essential—it is the only way we can be maximally healthy, and it is the only way we can reduce the costs of medical care.
James G. MerrickPhysicianSusquehanna Health Medical GroupWilliamsport, Pa.
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