In its report of the CBO results ABC News says

Obviously successful preventive care can make Americans healthier and save lives. But, Elmendorf wrote . . .

Successful prevention sure, but it turns out that most prevention is just not successful. Culled from the Annals of Internal Medicine, increases in life expectancy from some techniques:

  • Breast Cancer Screening: 60 days
  • Lifestyle Modification for Coronary Artery Disease: 1 year
  • Ovarian Cancer screening: 14 hours (yes hours, that’s not a typo)

Breast Cancer and Coronary Artery Disease are big deals. However, the two major preventive steps will on average give a woman 14 more months of life.

That’s not nothing but it also not the kind health revolution that you might expect from a head on attack on two of our most pernicious diseases. Moreover, as things go mammograms and lifestyle modifications are really good deals. The ovarian cancer stats show just how bad of deal some prevention can be.

HT: Mankiw