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Article
August 2, 1965

THE COST OF A DISEASE

JAMA. 1965;193(5):387. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090050063017
Abstract

The United States spends $30 billion per year on the health of its people. Breakdown into prevention of disease, cost of disease, and promotion of good health is not possible. Further breakdown into the costs of individual diseases is possible in some cases, but is not often attempted. What does it cost to have a peptic ulcer, the measles, or systemic lupus erythematosus? The costs of mental disease or of chronic chest disease can be estimated from data available from specialized hospital admissions. Insurance companies can determine the cost of prenatal care in para 3 gravida 4 with great accuracy, and standard surgical procedures can be estimated with reasonable statistical probability. But what is the price tag on cancer of the cervix?

Medical texts provide good information on survival rates, diagnostic procedures, prognosis, and relative merits of different treatments. Statements of needs of lifetime supervision or extensive convalescent care are

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