Health economists at the University of California Davis have crunched the numbers and estimated that autism care cost might reach $1 trillion in 10 years, if changes are not urgently made. The already exorbitant costs of $268 billion for 2015 will grow to at least $461 billion by 2025, or worse.
If the situation is not rectified and more funds are not added to much-needed research dedicated to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the costs could touch the $1 trillion mark without the proper preventive measures. The unbelievable costs of autism care are currently double of hypertension or stroke, and equal to that of diabetes. However, the latter receives five times the funds for research from the National Institutes of Health.
It’s reported that 1 in 68 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism, according to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network. It’s a social crippling disability that limits both the patient’s and their family’s lifestyles as it impairs communication and gravely affect social interactions.
Researchers have stated that it’s why ASD should gain proper public attention and government research before the already expensive costs reach nearly unsustainable numbers for custodial care. Author Paul Leigh and co-author, Juan Du, have made per-person estimations and then summed up the total number, according to data provided by the CDC and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
They have taken into consideration medical services, residential care, special education, transportation, employment support for those who cannot work, and lost productivity. They also looked at costs at different ages and the state of intellectual disability, which gravely affects the severity of required services, as those with more advanced symptoms required more careful care.
Given the growing prevalence of autism, the researchers have estimated the numbers to reach between $162 billion to $367 billion for this year (with $268 currently deemed their best guess) and the numbers are expected to grow from $276 billion to a whopping $1 trillion by 2025. The number of ASD diagnosis continue to grow and it’s becoming more widely-spread each year.
In order to reduce these incredible costs, it has been suggested that the research investment in autism should equal that given to diabetes, especially considering the cost of both for 2015 is equal. Essentially, ASD and diabetes cost society the same, but the latter sees more funds for research.
The study is meant to call both public organizations and governments to action, as in order to trim down the staggering costs we need to make sure that more is given to the cause of finding what causes ASD and developing treatments. Furthermore, children should benefit from intensive intervention early on in order to prevent the later symptoms, which will ultimately cost more with age.
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