Richard H. Hughes, IV, Member of the Firm in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, authored an article in Health Affairs, titled “The Path to Prevention: Charting the Course for a Healthier Nation.”

Following is an excerpt:

The United States is at a crossroads. We must choose between a future that entails poorer health outcomes, shorter lifespans, and increased health spending, or a sustained effort at transforming our system into one that fosters prevention, improves health outcomes in every respect, and bends the health care cost curve.

Members of the president’s administration—most prominently Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Mandy Cohen—have recently called for an increased focus on prevention and linking public health and medicine. President Joe Biden’s 2025 budget request to Congress includes funding for public health capacity building as well as funding for programs to prevent infectious diseases. Notably, it calls for safety-net programs to provide access to HIV prevention and vaccines. But the Biden administration has an opportunity to act to transform our system, guiding it toward a more meaningful prevention orientation.

This entails not only optimizing funding for public health laws, programs, and infrastructure, but aligning our system of health care coverage, payment, and delivery to preventive standards of care. Those standards of care should be grounded in appropriate evidence bases but without overlooking important access, equity, and feasibility considerations.

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