How Climate Change Threatens Public Health

The President: When it comes to public health issues, when we're doing effective work on prevention and we are preventing tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of asthma incidents — or we are preventing thousands of deaths as a consequence of asthma — that is something that we know is not only preventable when it comes to the individual but it's something where we could be saving money as a society as a whole. And so I want everybody to start recognizing the costs of inaction and recognize that the costs of inaction are even higher than the costs of action. In the same way that there are costs associated when you have severe drought or significant wildfires or the kinds of storm surges that we saw in Hurricane Sandy. Well, they're public health costs as well and we're ultimately going to be better off being proactive, getting out in front of this thing as opposed to reactive where we pay a whole lot more in pain and suffering as well as in terms of trying to deal with the back end of the problem. Vivek Murthy: All of American society has a hand in keeping our people healthy, in preventing disease not just treating it and making sure that every American, no matter who they are, or where they're from has a shot at a healthy life. The President: Last point I'll make, because Vivek touched on this.

When we have — as Doctor Brian Stevens mentioned — a child who visits the emergency room six times — because of asthma — there's a cost associated to that. We as a society pay for that and even after the child has insurance, it is still resources that are being devoted to treating a child that could have avoided emergency room visit if we took better care of the environment in which they were growing up..