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CBO: Preventive Care Raises Health-Care Costs

12:36 PM, Aug 10, 2009 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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ABC's Jake Tapper reports:

In yet more disappointing news for Democrats pushing for health care reform, Douglas W. Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, offered a skeptical view Friday of the cost savings that could result from preventive care -- an area that President Obama and congressional Democrats repeatedly had emphasized as a way health care reform would be less expensive in the long term.

Obviously successful preventive care can make Americans healthier and save lives. But, Elmendorf wrote, it may not save money as Democrats had been arguing.

"Although different types of preventive care have different effects on spending, the evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall," Elmendorf wrote.

You should read the whole post. Tapper goes on to round up quotes from Democrats who have complained previously that the CBO's estimates have left out all of the supposed cost-savings from preventive care:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that "it's always been a source, yes I will say frustration, for many of us in Congress that the CBO will always give you the worst-case scenario on one initiative and never ... any credit for anything that happens if you have early intervention, health care. If you have prevention, if you have wellness ... you name any positive investment that we make, that we know reduces cost, brings money to the Treasury in the case of education but never scored positively by the CBO. Yes, it is frustrating."