4 Reasons Preventative Care Should Be Free for Everyone

No one’s cured cancer yet. But a vaccine can prevent forms of cervical cancer so effectively that the UK reduced the number of screenings required for women.

Less than 30 percent of teens get their first HPV shots before the recommended age of 13, which can lead to cervical cancer, according to a new study. This shot is one of many procedures that probably won’t be covered by the short-term insurance plans promoted by President Trump.

Here are four reasons why it’s important to keep preventative care free, rather than waiting until health problems arise.

1. The benefits are already showing

Right now, the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover 10 major health benefits, which are mostly preventative. Teen pregnancies, for one, have reached record lows in the United States. Thank both a long-term trend — they’ve been declining for some time – and the ACA offering birth control without any copay.

2. Prevention saves money

Can you guess the number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.? If you say health care, you’re right.

As Kimberly Amadeo on the Balance notes, nearly half of retired people end up bankrupt for this very reason.

When folks don’t have access to preventative care, they often fall back on emergency room visits when something’s really wrong. This is far more expensive — and dangerous — than undergoing preemptive screenings and treatments and adjusting habits before health problems get out of control.

3. Physical and mental health go hand in hand

In our society, physical and mental health care are often treated as independent from one another. But they’re incredibly intertwined.

According to the UK’s Mental Health Foundation, having depression ups your chances of dying from heart disease by nearly 70 percent. This is because  people with depression are less likely to “receive the routine checks (like blood pressure, weight and cholesterol) that might detect symptoms of these physical health conditions earlier.”

We need to start connecting the dots and make preventative care as easy as possible to get for the sake of everyone.

4. Children Need a Fighting Chance

The ACA guarantees that children have access to free preventative care under their insurance. This includes maternity, newborn, dental and vision care.

Right as the law went into total effect, the CDC released a study that said millions of children went without this essential care. Those who were uninsured and/or Hispanic suffered disproportionately.

“We must protect the health of all children and ensure that they receive recommended screenings and services. Together, parents and the public health and healthcare communities can work to ensure that children have health insurance and receive vital preventive services,” said Stuart K. Shapira, M.D., Ph.D., of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, in 2014. “Increased use of clinical preventive services could improve the health of infants, children and teens and promote healthy lifestyles that will enable them to achieve their full potential.”

And that holds true four years later.

Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr

62 comments

hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD2 months ago

tyfs

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 months ago

TYFS

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Carole R
Carole R3 months ago

It's always easier and cheaper to prevent illness than to treat it.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Lisa M
Lisa M3 months ago

Thanks.

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Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

thanks

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JoAnn P
JoAnn Paris4 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith5 months ago

thanks

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