Commentary |

A Closer Look at the Economic Argument for Disease Prevention

Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2009;301(5):536-538. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.51.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


Disease prevention has always been the preferred option for promoting health and reducing disease rates. For many, this health argument is reason enough to invest in prevention, economics aside. Others, citing scarce resources, advocate a careful assessment of the costs and savings associated with prevention. It initially costs more to deliver preventive services; the savings the resulting health benefits will incur over time are less clear. Some reports claim that effective prevention programs would save the nation billions of dollars,1 while others predict the reverse.2 Economists and columnists have argued that prevention rarely saves money and is inherently no more cost-effective than disease care.35 For policy makers—caught between an economic crisis, pressure to defer new spending and seize control over escalating health care costs, and a promise to voters to make prevention part of health care reform—resolving whether prevention will help reduce spending is highly relevant.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours

First Page Preview

View Large
First page PDF preview




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 37

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Topics
PubMed Articles