29274Balt. Sun op-ed//A dollar of prevention is worth $7 of cure
- May 6, 2014
A dollar of prevention is worth $7 of cure [Commentary]
Focusing our federal budget on areas where we can prevent disease, disorder and disaster is smarter than trying to address problems after they occur
By Neil Wollman and Taylor Bishop Scott
12:00 PM EDT, May 5, 2014
Recently we've seen a number of proposed federal budgets, all of which have partisan approaches. The following proposal is bipartisan, stressing two major themes echoed by our major political parties: serving human needs and saving federal dollars. A budget based on preventing rather than treating problems is more humane and reduces the need for untested or ineffective government programs — again, a bipartisan approach.
Several areas ripe for prevention where we should be spending our money are outlined below:
Preventive medicine. Health care expenses are drastically heightened by chronic diseases and disorders, which also contribute to lost productivity and lost tax revenue. Besides the human toll, the total economic impact of chronic disease and disorder is $1.3 trillion annually. Although some argue that prevention in health care is not cost-saving, evidence suggests prevention can save significant dollars if it promotes healthy behavior, ameliorates environmental risks and targets populations at high risk for disease and disorder.
Early childhood education. Educational success can be bolstered with rigorously tested, effective programs that promote early cognitive and language development. The most cost-saving programs target children who are most at-risk for academic failure. Cutting dropout rates in half — with evidence-based programs — would increase federal government revenues by $30 billion per year by improving productivity and tax revenues, and it would reduce expenditures for criminal justice, public health and welfare. A more productive and tax-paying workforce — with better labor skills via education and fewer social problems — means a lowered federal deficit, a healthier economy and a more vibrant citizenry. read whole op-ed
Neil Wollman, is a Baltimore native and Senior Fellow in the Bentley Alliance for Ethics and Social Responsibility at Bentley University, Waltham, Mass.; and Taylor Bishop Scott is a doctoral student in psychology at UNC-Charlotte; they are the co-director and public policy coordinator, respectively, of the National Prevention Coalition. Mr. Wollman's email is NWollman@....
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