Preventive health is the key improving our health outcomes

During the 20th century, America’s commitment to preventive health efforts such as water purification and vaccinations all but eradicated many deadly illnesses and, in the process, extended the average life expectancy by three decades, from 47 years in 1900 to 77 in 1999.

The historic success of public health initiatives invites an obvious question. Why in the 21st century do we accept a “sick-care” system that drains our treasure after disease strikes while giving prevention the short shrift?

If we are serious about reducing costs and improving wellness, we must shift to a care system focused on prevention. The need for change is urgent, driven by the convergence of three growing health crises: opioid addiction, suicide and chronic disease.

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