Economist Alice Rivlin says we should be healthy because it's good for us, not because it's good for the economy. (Meena Ganesan/Washington Post Live)

Alice Rivlin at The Washington Post’s Health Beyond Health Care forum June 18. (Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/The Washington Post)

“I’m a maverick on this. I think the reason to be healthier is it’s good to be healthier. You feel better, you’re happier, you’re more productive at work. There is a mythology that some people have that we could cut our heath-care costs a lot if we prevented diseases. We could cut them somewhat in some circumstances but generally, if we are healthier and live longer, we will consume health care over a longer period. So the primary reason for doing this is it’s a good thing to — and it makes us healthier and happier and more productive — not that it saves a lot of money.”

-Alice Rivlin, Senior fellow, Brookings Institution


After hurricane, new way to eat for New Orleans

Designs that make you feel better

Experts speak: Improving our health without doctors or pills