Keeping Us Healthy to Improve Outcomes and Save Money
A health care system that is focused on keeping people healthy, rather than reacting with treatments when they get sick, would not only improve outcomes but save money. Chronic diseases account for more than half of the growth in health expenses or about 83% of medical expenses annually in the U.S. Primary prevention and chronic disease management are effective ways to control costs by keeping people healthy.
Health Access supports efforts to improve primary care, prevention, and chronic disease management to limit cost growth while improving population health and the health of individuals. Health Access supports such efforts, from the ACA’s provision that ensures coverage of preventive care services without cost-sharing; to programs serving populations that are at high risk for chronic disease or early death; to state initiatives aimed at boosting prevention and wellness for populations at risk for chronic disease, like Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Staying healthy starts long before a person ever enters the health care system. Prevention and wellness can and should be encouraged in the places where Californians live, work, and play. To this end, Health Access supports investment in public health programs and communnitys. Health Access was pleased to work to help craft key prevention and wellness goals in the state of California’s recently concluded Let’s Get Healthy California initiative (see final report).
Health Access supports a “Health In All Policies” approach, recognizing a healthier society may include changes in policies such as housing, zoning, education, environmental issues, transportation, food security, public safety, and other services. Evidence and experience shows that place matters, and we should therefore embrace opportunities for county-based policy interventions, including the community transformation grants that were part of the ACA.
Selected Wellness and Prevention Links
- Let’s Get Healthy California
- Affordable Care Act Prevention and Public Health Fund: California initiatives
- Healthcare.gov preventive services web site