The complex economics of disease prevention and longevity

From the Health Affairs Blog:

In August, the Center for Sustainable Health Spending (CSHS) was awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to, among other things, examine the relationship between disease prevention and health care costs. This project heightened my interest in the wonderfully-researched report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) entitled Raising the Excise Tax on Cigarettes: Effects on Health and the Federal Budget, and its excellent summary in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The report was years in the making and is noteworthy for its original research and its thorough and insightful literature review. As the title suggests, its economic focus is on the federal budget. In some ways this is a very broad perspective as it brings into play smoking’s impact on employment and earnings (hence tax payments), as well as health care costs and Social Security payments. But in other ways it is quite narrow, being limited to federal revenues and costs. Before discussing this CBO report, and the complex economics of disease prevention and longevity it underscores, I’d like to create some context.

Read the complete post here.

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