Senate Committee Looks to Prevention For Cutting Healthcare Costs

Oct 14, 2011, 5:57 PM, Posted by NewPublicHealth

Earlier this week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), met to examine the role chronic disease prevention plays in improving health and, importantly, controlling health care costs. Speakers at the hearing included Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and high-level representatives of the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and the Hudson Institute.

To kick off the meeting, Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Committee, cited the Trust for America's Health report, "Prevention for a Healthier America," which found that an investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking could save the country more than $16 billion annually within five years – a return of $5.60 for every $1 invested.

Watch the hearing and read transcripts of the discussion here.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.