Answered Essay: Despite evidence suggesting that disease prevention produces major improvements in longevity

Despite evidence suggesting that disease prevention produces major improvements in longevity and quality of life, the role of prevention efforts in the United States health system is far from outstanding. Less than 5% of the nation’s health care expenditures are for prevention of disease and injury in contrast to the nearly 80% of the nation’s health care expenditures being devoted to treating people with chronic diseases. Tobacco use alone is responsible for billions of dollars in health care costs, as is obesity, including costs for the loss of productivity among those with obesity. Many in health care would suggest that prevention is a very cost effective solution to saving lives. If this is such a great concept, it would seem then, that people would embrace and practice prevention efforts more often in and effort to stay healthy. What do you think are some of the barriers and, more importantly, the “enablers” to prevention programs in managed health care plans and how do you think those barriers could be eliminated?

Expert Answer


It is true that the maximum part of the health care budget is spent upon curing of chronic diseases and very less spending takes place upon prevention of disease. Here, managed care organizations (MCOs) play an important role in prevention of disease, finding alternative methods of treatment while maintain the quality of treatment. Though, there are many barriers to the work of MCOs. The first barrier is the reach of the MCOs to those communities who are poor, unaware and cannot care for themselves regarding their health care needs. These people approach hospitals when their health status is deteriorated. The second barrier is growing age of the population. With increase in age, people get diseases quickly and they need immediate attention. Regarding this, a good amount of the budget is spent upon the treatment of older people. The third barrier is the lifestyle problem and unhealthy practices that lead to the chronic health care problems.
Though, there are enablers also that can help MCOs to accelerate the impact of preventive cares and it will be reflected as results in due course of time. The first enabler is the growing reach of the MCOs, connecting people to the MCOs and spreading the awareness among people regarding the benefits of preventive care and other methods of treatment. Use of tele-medicine and mobile health care can also help.
The second enabler is to prevent or reduce the reach of people towards those products that enhance obesity and or lifestyle diseases. People under the age of 18, should be strictly prohibited. The third enabler is the channelize of role of employers among their employees to get enrolled with the MCOs. It will also help in reducing the huge cost of health care.

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