Recent Study Suggests Investing in Public Health May Reduce Medicare Spending

According to researchers from the University of Kentucky, investments in public health programs appear to reduce spending in the Medicare program, suggesting new directions for containing costs by aligning medical and public health programs.

The study is published in the December issue of the journal Health Services Research and tracks hundreds of U.S. communities between 1993 and 2013. The researchers measured the amount of money spent annually by local public health agencies in each community and linked the data with measures of Medicare spending per beneficiary in the same local areas.

The results show that Medicare spending per beneficiary fell by about one percent for each 10 percent increase in public health spending per resident, with even greater offsets observed in low-income and medically-underserved communities. These findings suggest that the federal Medicare program could realize an average of $1.10 in savings for each $1.00 invested in local public health activities over time.

An overview of the study is available here. The journal article is available here.