Webinar: “Creating Jobs and Reducing the Federal Debt by Improving Health”
Webinar presented by past Michigan Wellness Council speaker Michael O’Donnell, PhD, MBA, MHP, Member, Board of Directors Health Promotion Advocates
“Creating Jobs and Reducing the Federal Debt by Improving Health” on April 14, 2015 (Tuesday) at 1pm
Making America Healthy: Our People and Our Economy
Can We Reduce Our Federal Debt and Create Jobs by Making the Healthy Choice the Easiest Choice?
What is the Issue? Did you know:
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the federal debt will reach $49.9 trillion by 2035 if current trends continue. That is 187% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)!
- Other economists have projected the debt will reach 314% of GDP by 2050.
- In the long term, Medicare and Medicaid are projected to account for 52% of all federal spending, while Social Security will account for 20%.
Is it possible to reduce the federal debt by improving health? Our preliminary analysis says, yes we can. If we can reduce the annual increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending by just one percentage point and extend the years of productive work life by 10%, the federal debt would be reduced by a third. Without action to reduce the deficit and reduce Medicare/Medicaid spending, it is likely that the national economy will implode before the federal debt reaches these levels.
What Can We Do?
Investing now in lifestyle changes and making the healthy choice the easiest choice, will provide long-term savings. Assuming an annual cost of $200 per person to improve health, these efforts will cost approximately $62 billion/year for the full population of 310 million people. Our calculations show that it may be possible for the $62 billion annual cost to be offset each year by the medical cost savings achieved by employers because of the improved health of their employees and dependents, and by new income taxes paid by health promotion providers whose annual revenues would grow from an estimated $2 billion to $62 billion. Furthermore, growing the field of health promotion to this size will create an estimated 280,000 new jobs.
To achieve a level of change in the health of the US population, will require a commitment to creating work and living environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice, raising the living conditions of people with low incomes, and providing health promotion programs that train people in the skills they need to achieve the health goals they set.