The Campaign Spot

Once Again, the Happy Fairy Tale of ‘Preventative Health Care’

One of the frustrating things about watching this debate when you’ve been covering these candidates since… oh, January 2007 is that you’ve heard them make these points, repeatedly, over and over and over and over again. Thus, it is almost impossible for me to picture how these statements sound to people hearing them for the first time.

Once again, for the millionth time, I’ve heard a candidate (Obama) claim that is going to save money on health care by paying for “preventative health care.” Some triggers of health problems, like car accidents and gun shot wounds, are not preventable. A lot of others, such as heart disease, are. Most Americans know eating more salads and less fatty foods is good preventative health care, but they choose otherwise. Exercise, not drinking to excess, not abusing drugs — all of those are good preventative health care. The idea that some government program is going to suddenly get Americans to start utilitzing preventative health care and result in significant savings is a pleasant, and thoroughly implausible fairy tale.

UPDATE: A reader makes a great point: 

It strikes me that Obama’s insistence that preventative health care is the solution to our health care woes is akin to his focus on proper tire inflation as a significant solution to our energy problems. Both rely on the general population suddenly deciding to do things they already know are good for them but for whatever reason, don’t do.

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