From quit-smoking campaigns, to safer cars, to vaccines that stamped out polio and smallpox and are now tackling HPV and the flu, public health interventions are worth the money.
So why don’t we spend more on them? ask Aaron E. Carroll of Indiana University School of Medicine and Austin Frakt of Boston University’s School of Public Health and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. A 2017 review found that health protection interventions, including vaccinations, have saved $34 for every dollar spent on them. Even interventions with less advantageous returns are worthwhile, they write.
The patchwork of public health spending makes it hard to quantify; but however you slice it, it’s "dwarfed by what Americans spend on health care directly," they write.