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Executive Summary

MEASLES VACCINATION PROGRAM SAVINGS OF $1.3 BIL. in long term health care costs result from a $180 mil. initial investment, the House Select Cmte. on Children, Youth and Families pointed out in an Aug. 14 staff report. Discussing the benefits of the Childhood Immunization Program, the House report referred to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study that indicated "that the $180 mil. spent on a measles vaccination program saved $1.3 bil. in medical and long-term care by reducing hearing impairment, retardation and other problems." The report, entitled "Opportunities for Success: Cost Effective Programs for Children," summarizes the benefits and cost savings of eight existing federal programs for children using research by the private sector, foundations and independent researchers. The report's release comes in the midst of ongoing budget debates over whether the domestic programs should undergo further cuts. In a press release announcing the availability of the report, cmte. member Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said the report "strips away, for these programs, any arguments about waste, fraud, and abuse. It proves these programs work . . . and that cutting them costs much, much more than it saves." However, the congressman added, "with our current crisis in the budget . . . this should not be taken as a green light for new spending." Under the Childhood Immunization program, the cost/benefit ratio of vaccination against measles, mumps, and rubella is 14:1, the report notes. The report states that according to an article in the July 1985 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, in 1983 "expenditures for immunization, including vaccine administration costs and the costs associated with vaccine reactions totaled $96 mil." Without a vaccination program for the three diseases, health "costs would have been almost $1.4 bil.," the report states. For the entire Childhood Immunization Program, the report states that "for every dollar spent . . . the government saves $10 in medical costs." Other programs discussed in the House report include: Medicaid, Prenatal Care, Preschool Education, Compensatory Education, Education for All Handicapped Children, Youth Employment and Training, and Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children. "Evaluations of the effects of Medicaid coverage show," according to the report, that "Medicaid-supported, comprehensive prenatal care resulted in cost savings of $2 in the first year of ]an[ infant's life for every $1 spent." Discussing public programs for prenatal care, the report cited Institutes of Medicine figures "that for every $1 spent, $3.38 can be saved in the costs of care for low birthweight infants."

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