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Research Supports Improving 'Scoring' of Costs and Benefits of Preventive Health Care to Better Inform Federal Budgetary Decisions
Date:9/1/2009

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- For economists and policy-makers to understand the true value of the costs and savings of preventive health programs for chronic disease, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) should incorporate long-term clinical outcomes data and look beyond the 10-year window when making cost estimates, says a team of University of Chicago researchers in today's issue of Health Affairs.

The team developed a simulation model that incorporates critical findings from landmark clinical trials, illustrating that an investment in early, aggressive prevention and treatment of diabetes yields payoffs that increase over time, with a significant amount of the benefits accruing after the current 10-year CBO window.

"Diabetes is a prime example of a chronic illness with long-term health and cost consequences,'' writes health policy economist Michael O'Grady, Senior Fellow at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. He and co-authors Elbert Huang, Anirban Basu, and James Capretta conducted their work with a grant from the National Changing Diabetes(R) Program (NCDP), a diabetes leadership initiative established by Novo Nordisk to drive health systems change at the national and local levels.

The CBO provides Congress with economic forecasts based on impartial analyses of the costs of federal programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid. These forecasts traditionally cover a 10-year period, as required by current rules, which remain appropriate in certain cases.

But for health policy directed at chronic illnesses such as diabetes, the authors write, "a near-term focus is problematic, as the natural history of disease progression often goes well beyond ten years.''

"We commissioned this research following a review of long-term outcomes studies that indeed demonstrate preventive health care for pe
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SOURCE The National Changing Diabetes Program
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