Preventivehealthcare comprises of activities that people carry out to preventdisease rather than curing diseases (Manningatetal.,2012).Checkups are important because most of the diseases people areinfected with are preventable or can easily be controlled if detectedearly. Checkups also reduce the long-term cost that would have beeninvolved in curing. The increase in medical care is important as itindirectly increases utilities. Medical care generates health whichincreases utility. This can be proved using graphs or economic modelsthat show the level of medical care against the utility. Utility isthe measure of the quality of a good or service (Manningatetal.,2012).In this case, utility refers to the quality of life. An example is asituation where there is a higher life expectancy there will be anincrease in the long future utility. The study of efficiency andeffectiveness of health production and consumption is known as healtheconomics
Figure1: Utility Vs Quantity of medical care
Utilityis on the vertical axis while the quantity of medical care is on thehorizontal axis.That is the assumption that all products are subject to the law ofdiminishing marginal utility and the prices of the other goods remainconstant (Manningatetal.,2012). Another assumption is that income of individuals remainsconstant.The curve shows that utilities increase with the increase of thequantity of medical care though at a decreasing rate. A person whogoes for regular checkups will receive the utilities, but when a sickperson goes to the hospital they find good health more valuable. Thisis because every next unit of medical care consumed generates fewerimprovements in health than the previous one. This is known as thelaw of diminishing marginal utility (Manningatetal.,2012). The other reason is thatan additional unit of medical care consumed, results in a smaller(non-proportional) increase in health because of the law ofdiminishing marginal productivity (Manningatetal.,2012).
Thislaw allows economists to understandthelaw of medical care demand. Economics look at medicalcareas a good thus it is affected by in income. When income increases,the demand for medical care increases as well, though notproportionally (Manningatetal.,2012).It is also affected by other variables like the prices of other goodsthat are consumed together. An example is the demand for glasses andlenses. It is also affected by time cost. Time cost can be dividedinto two time opportunity cost which the time is lost duringtravelling to the medical centre and time monetary cost wheregasoline is bought or fares paid.
Theabove implies that we should visit doctors regularly for checkupsbecause a report by the world health organization (WHO) showed thathalf of all deaths in the United States are caused by preventablediseases and conditions (Manningatetal.,2012).The main diseases include respiratory infections, cervical and breastcancer, HIV and blood pressure among others. It is recommended thatwe see a doctor at least once a year. To wrap things up, preventivehealth checkups usually improve the overall utility of individuals(Manningatetal.,2012).Organizations have even set up specific dates where free screening isoffered to individuals. Examples include free cancer screening duringmothers’ day. Such organizations should be recognized and evenawarded. Lastly, the government should, therefore, create morecommunication and awareness to the public about preventive healthcheckups.
Manning,W. G., Newhouse, J. P., Duan, N., Keeler, E. B., & Leibowitz, A.(1987). Health insurance and the demand for medical care: evidencefrom a randomized experiment. TheAmerican economic review,251-277.