The question of whether treatment or prevention saves money is one of the most contested debate. The opponents of prevention argue that in most instances, prevention measures are not economic compared to treating illnesses that would otherwise be prevented since the cost of screening healthy people outweighs the cost of treating diseases in the United States. They are right in their argument because some preventive services especially in those clinical healthcare settings do not save money(Goetzel, 2009). However, medical treatment does not save money either. The question that is relevant in this debate is the value accomplished for any particular treatment or preventive service. To get the best answer for this question, it is crucial to determine the most affordable way to realize improved health for the whole population in order to invest resources and energies there.
Prevention is a general term that involves the numerous interventions that aim at reducing incidence of diseases or minimizing chances of disease progression. Preventive measures include initiatives such as children immunization, use of seat-belt while travelling, increasing tax on cigarettes, and limiting sale of alcohol to the minors among other(Caulkins, 1999). The emphasis on prevention is to avoid diseases but to promote healthy practices. Few of these prevention measures require the services of medical experts but adopting them reduces the population’s exposure to chronic illnesses and the associated cost of treatment.
Health promotion and preventive measures provides more value to the society since lives get improved at a comparatively low cost. Furthermore, evaluating the corporate health programs, it is evident that the non-clinical settings including workplaces, preventive measures improves the population health (Goetzel, 2009). In addition, preventive measures help in reducing the health risks and saving money for the organizations that sponsor such programs. In fact, measured against the cost of treatment, prevention provides a better return on investment.
In order to increase the number of lives saved, more money should be allocated towards discovering more preventive measures while at the same time strengthening the already existing ones (Caulkins, 1999).The societal and economic benefits of prevention far outweighs treatment cost especially if people are diagnosed with chronic illnesses. In the long run, preventive measures and initiatives saves the government, individuals and businesses money.
Caulkins, J. P. (1999). An ounce of prevention, a pound of uncertainty: The cost-effectiveness of school-based drug prevention programs. Santa Monica, Calif: Rand.
Goetzel, R. Z. (January 01, 2009). Do prevention or treatment services save money? The wrong debate. Health Affairs (project Hope), 28, 1.)