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Burgess and DeGette join Senators Cardin, Crapo, King and Cramer Introducing Bicameral Legislation to Better Assess Savings from Preventive Health Care Initiatives

Bipartisan lawmakers say that continuing to shift towards more preventive health care saves lives and save costs, so our budgets and accounting methods should shift too

Washington –Representatives Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) along with U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Angus King (I-Maine) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) announced the reintroduction of the Preventive Health Savings Act (H.R. 766 /S. 114), which would direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to more accurately reflect the long term, cost-saving potential of preventive healthcare initiatives. The bicameral, bipartisan legislation also encourages the use of data-informed preventive health measures. It would instruct CBO extend its analysis beyond the existing 10-year budget window to two additional 10-year periods to provide a fuller analysis of the potential impact of preventive health legislation.

The Preventive Health Savings Act narrowly defines preventive health to refer to “action that focuses on the health of the public, individuals, and defined populations in order to protect, promote, and maintain health and wellness and prevent disease, disability, and premature death that is demonstrated by credible and publicly available evidence from epidemiological projection models, clinical trials, observational studies in humans, longitudinal studies, and meta-analysis.” This ensures the legislation would target the review of evidence-based, preventive health measures to enable Congress to better evaluate meaningful and impactful policies.

“This bill is a responsible and life-saving approach that will ensure that the government calculates the savings of preventative health,” said Rep. Burgess. “Chronic diseases account for over seventy percent of all healthcare spending, and this legislation will help bend the cost curve and provide long-term cost savings.”

“Preventive health care services save lives and, by preventing diseases from progressing, they can significantly lower a patient’s health care costs later on in life. If a treatment prevents a disease from developing, then the amount of money the federal government would save by providing that treatment now – instead of treating that disease later on in a patient’s life – should be considered," said Rep. DeGette. "Allowing CBO to consider the future savings generated by such measures, will make it easier for Congress to expand access to these innovative services that will protect more Americans from developing certain diseases in the first place.”

“Prevention – early detection through screenings like mammograms, and changes in behavior to reduce risks like quitting smoking – all lower health care costs by reducing the expense and severity of treatments. But current restrictions prevent CBO from examining the true economic impacts of these preventive measures when they evaluate health legislation,” said Senator Cardin. “Requiring CBO to look at the long-term impact of these potential measures will allow Congress to make the best-informed decisions as we evaluate meaningful legislation.”

“Preventative health care lowers costs and ensures Americans can live longer, healthier lives,” said Senator Crapo.“This bipartisan legislation is a much-needed reform that will allow lawmakers to capture long-term savings achievable through preventative care, giving Congress a more comprehensive picture when enacting legislation to improve our overall health care system.”

“Expanding preventative care is one of the most effective ways to keep Maine people healthy while also saving money for patients and taxpayers alike. After all, the best doctor’s bill is the one you don’t get,” said Senator King. “The Preventive Health Savings Act will support better, more effective investments in health by giving Congress a more complete view of how preventative care can help patients and cut costs. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this bill would measure how much we benefit through getting ahead of small issues before they become health problems – but Congress hasn’t done enough to quantify the costs and benefits. This bipartisan bill is a commonsense step to reduce healthcare expenses, save taxpayer dollars, and support Americans’ long-term health.”

“Preventive health care measures allow Americans to live longer, healthier lives and substantially lower the costs passed along to the taxpayer,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bill updates existing CBO rules to better allow Congress to account for long-term savings generated by investments in preventive care.”

The full bill text can be downloaded here.