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Prevention efforts provide no panacea on health costs

Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2009
While lawmakers agree that a bigger government role in disease prevention is needed to fix the healthcare system, such efforts have had little success in reducing illness or costs. "It is not going to cut costs," said Louise Russell, a research professor in the Institute for Health at Rutgers University who has studied the issue. "We already do a lot more prevention than other countries. We are not healthier." The findings don't question the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, the problem is that when testing becomes too widespread, or heavy investments are made in monitoring people with chronic diseases, the rewards often fail to match the costs.