Oct 4 2011

Recommended Reading: Spend More (On Healthcare), Get Less (Healthy Populations)

A thought-provoking article in the Yale Alumni Magazine, “The Health Spending Paradox,” finds that the ratio of social-service spending to health-care spending in the United States is less than 1:1, while the average among other middle to high income countries is 2:1. Why does that matter? According to Elizabeth Bradley, Ph.D., professor of public health and the faculty director of the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute, and a co-author of the article, in countries where health-care spending was high and social-service spending (such as housing and family support services) was low, outcomes were significantly worse for infant mortality, life expectancy, and potential years of life lost.

Bradley says the research suggests that spending outside of health care — in this case, on social services — may have more important ramifications for a population’s health than the spending inside the health-care system. "Given these findings, legislators who are eager to save money on government health-care costs may want to think twice before cutting funding for social-service programs. Those cuts may themselves have substantial health consequences in the future.’’

Read the article here.

>>Read more on a related study that found that increased spending by local public health departments can save lives lost to preventable illnesses.

Tags: Global Health, Housing, Maternal and Infant Health, Public health