CBO: Preventative care savings hard to measure

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While some believe good prevention could result in lower healthcare costs, the Congressional Budget Office maintains that Medicare savings from chronic care and disease-prevention programs are difficult to quantify.

Both sides last week presented their views to the Senate Special Committee on Aging. A panel of private sector health officials gave examples to the committee of good prevention programs, including diet and exercise regimens, which resulted in lower healthcare costs. 

But CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin said evidence of costs savings from such activities remains elusive. While chronic care management services and assessments could help improve people's health, it would not necessarily result in lower federal healthcare costs. A paper released in May reinforced this premise.

The purpose of the hearing was to examine the reasons behind rising Medicare costs, particularly for chronically ill people, said Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), a committee member.