CBO Scoring Shortchanges Preventive Healthcare Spending
Last week, Rep. Burgess and Rep. Donna Christenson (D-VI) submitted HR 6482 (Preventive Health Savings Act of 2012), which would allow the CBO to collect and analyze scientific data past the current 10-year window.
The bill defines preventive health as an action to avoid future healthcare costs "that is demonstrated by credible and publicly available epidemiological projection models, incorporating clinical trials or observational studies in humans."
The bill already has 16 co-sponsors, including some Democrats. Other supporters include the Healthcare Leadership Council, whose president, Mary R. Grealy, released a press statement praising the legislation.
"Congress needs to see the full picture of how wellness programs improve population health and not just the initial price tag," she said. "We shouldn't ignore the long-term savings to our healthcare system just because they don't show up within an arbitrary period of time."
This is the second time Rep. Burgess and Rep. Christenson have addressed this issue. A similar bill presented in 2009 died in committee. Back then the role of preventive services in healthcare was not as much a part of the national dialog as it is now.
It may seem like tilting at windmills to present a bill this late in the session with Congress focused more on elections that legislation, but HR 6482 will hopefully generate some interest in a topic that deserves our attention.
The CBO, which prides itself on its nonpartisanship, declined to comment.
Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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