Why Improving Access to Health Care Does Not Save Money By Jordan Harmon Moderator | 19 Jul, 2014

A recent article in the New York Times indicated that improving access to healthcare through the ACA isn't saving money or reducing costs. The article states, "A review of preventive measures in the New England Journal of Medicine found that less than 20 percent of 279 preventive measures saved money. The rest resulted in varying amounts of increased spending." Further, the article says that "Sometimes good things cost money."

Do you agree with this statement that good things sometimes cost money? Is increased access a way to reduce costs by eliminating more urgent care needs?

Costs of Care
Attached resource:



Elizabeth Glaser Replied at 4:57 PM, 20 Jul 2014

If those receiving care are living longer lives or have better quality of life and are more healthy, able to work, and contribute to society in the long run then these initiatives may very well save money - however calculating the benefit per intervention likely means using a societal perspective over a long period of time. It could very well take a decade or more to realize the saving from the changes just barely begun in the past two or three years as it takes time to reform systems, to change consumer and provider behaviors which contribute to high costs, and time for our investments to be realized. And even if this effort is a poor investment , it can take time before we can be sure of that, too.


Mighty Casey Replied at 12:46 PM, 22 Jul 2014

I agree with Elizabeth - simply looking at costs into/out of the care system fails to capture the savings in life, liberty, happiness (and productivity). The money saved, or generated, shows up on other balance sheets.