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November 29, 2017

King, Bipartisan Group of Colleagues Reintroduce Bill to Prioritize Preventive Healthcare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), along with Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) today reintroduced the Preventive Health Savings Act, legislation that would direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to more accurately reflect the cost-savings of preventive healthcare, including health screenings.

“Congress has recently spent a lot of time debating the best methods of paying for healthcare, and for good reason: the American people rely on this care to live happy, healthy lives,” said Senator King. “But these recent discussions don’t address the underlying problem of overall healthcare spending. Regardless of who is writing the check, the current trajectory of healthcare spending is unsustainable. We need to make the most of options like preventive care, which is proven to control costs and improve the overall health of communities. By ensuring that future Congressional Budget Office studies extend beyond the existing ten-year budget window, this bill will help us fully understand the long-term benefits and maximize the impact of preventive care to improve overall health, in Maine and across the country.”

“This bipartisan legislation is a simple fix that will allow the Congressional Budget Office to capture the long-term savings that can be achieved through preventive health care, arming lawmakers with more accurate information when considering legislation to improve health care system,” said Senator Crapo.

“Prevention and early detection through cancer screenings, counseling, and immunization all lower healthcare costs by reducing the severity of disease. As a nation, we spend far more on the treatment of disease than we do on preventive health. But our neglect of prevention has been costly, overwhelming our healthcare budgets, particularly Medicare and Medicaid,” said Senator Cardin. “Re-evaluating our budget rules is not a new phenomenon. As our nation shifts its focus to more preventive healthcare, our budgets and accounting methods should shift too.”

“Preventive health care has been proven time and time again to save lives and dramatically lower costs, and that is an investment that is well worth making,” Senator Udall said. “This bill will ensure that lawmakers have that information at their fingertips to help make better decisions about these programs in the future.”

“The Preventive Health Savings Act recognizes the importance of preventing chronic diseases and promoting behavioral health,” said LaShawn McIver, MD, MPH and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs & Advocacy at the American Diabetes Association. “We know that lifestyle support programs such as the National Diabetes Prevention Program lead to significant cost-savings that extend beyond the Congressional Budget Office’s traditional scoring window of 10 years. Evaluating cost-savings further into the future, as would be allowed by the Preventive Health Savings Act, will provide a more comprehensive appraisal of critical programs that promote wellness and disease prevention, while reducing health care costs and overall spending, and thus improving the lives of millions of Americans.”

The American Diabetes Association is one of 120 organizations that have expressed support for the Preventative Health Savings Act. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and the disease is one of the leading chronic diseases causing death and disability in the United States.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), efforts to treat chronic diseases account for over 80 percent of America’s health care costs.  Preventive care – such as health screenings, shots, and lab tests – can help prevent chronic disease and ultimately lead to savings in health care costs.

Under current law, however, the CBO does not take into account the long-term cost-savings associated with preventive health initiatives. The Preventive Health Savings Act would direct the CBO to more accurately reflect the cost-savings of preventive health care legislation by allowing Congressional Committees – including the Budget; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Finance; Ways and Means; and Energy and Commerce Committees – to request an analysis of preventive measures extending beyond the existing 10-year budget window to two additional 10-year periods.

By allowing the CBO to widen its budget window to better capture the costs-savings from preventive care, the legislation encourages a sensible review of health policy in order to promote public health and incentivizes Congress to invest in proven methods of saving lives and money.‎

Senators King, Crapo and Cardin originally introduced the bill in 2013, and reintroduced the bill in 2016.


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