I've put together a full sample persuasive speech of value. I argue that prevention is more important than treatment in healthcare. See the sample presentation, along with the outline and PowerPoint.
Persuasive Speech Example:
Good luck with yours!
Prevention is the Best Medicine
I. (Attention Getter) Benjamin Franklin moved to Philadelphia as a young man. He noticed that the city was ill-prepared for fires. So he worked with various groups to implement a serious of basic preventative measures that, along with the creation of a volunteer-led fire-fighting team, greatly improved fire-safety standards in Philadelphia. He wrote about this in a letter to the newspaper, saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” as recounted on a website associated with the Independence Hall Association.
II. (Introduce Topic) In our era, the biggest danger we face is chronic illness. The current healthcare debate focuses on how best to treat illness. But what’s missing in these discussions, is the importance of prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the CDC, published a report stating, “Up to 40 percent of annual deaths from each of five leading US causes are preventable” (2014).
III. (Context/Background info) Prevention and treatment differ in important ways
A. Our treatment centered healthcare model focuses on doctor visits, medications, hospitalizations, and surgery. This has been the emphasis of our healthcare system.
B. In contrast, preventative measures to avoid chronic illness include improvements in diet, exercise, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body mass index. These ordinary habits help to prevent chronic illness, and yet we do not promote them enough.
IV. (Preview/Thesis) When it comes to our health, prevention is more important than treatment in terms of the costs, the health outcomes, and the politics.
Transition: Let’s look at how much we spend on healthcare in America.
I. America pays a great price on its health.
A. Our treatment centered healthcare system is unsustainable.
1. Healthcare is our country’s biggest expense.
a. The Congressional Budget Office shows that healthcare spending reached over 950 billion dollars in 2016.
B. This adds to the deficit, which limits the government’s ability to respond to emergencies or to invest in other important services like education, defense, or infrastructure.
2. Americans pay excessively for healthcare.
a. A study in the Lancet, a leading medical Journal, showed that America pays more than every other country on health at over $9000 per person in 2014 (Dieleman et al., 2017).
b. The paper also estimated that costs will continue to increase through 2040.
B. Healthcare costs are typically associated with chronic illnesses.
1. A 2017 report by the CDC, Chronic Disease Overview, highlights the cost of chronic illness, “chronic conditions make up 86% of healthcare costs.”
2. The report also notes that, “Chronic diseases and conditions—such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis—are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.”
Transition: The cost of preventable illness is staggering, and the human costs are greater.
II. Many Americans suffer needlessly.
A. The treatment centered healthcare model comes with downsides.
1. Half of Americans lived with one or more chronic health conditions in 2012 (CDC, 2017).
2. National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that 16% of Americans are caring for an adult (2015).
2. Researchers at John Hopkins Medicine projected medical errors to result in 250,000 deaths each year, which would make it the third leading cause of death in America (Makary & Daniel, 2016).
B. Prevention is possible.
1. A German a study of 23,000 participants found that individuals that never smoked, were not obese, exercised at least 3.5 hours a week, and ate fruits, veggies, and whole grains, had a 78% lower risk of developing a chronic disease (Ford et al., 2009).
2. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report from the CDC says 200,000 deaths from heart disease and stroke were avoidable in 2010 (2013).
Transition: Prevention is better for our well-being; it is also more practical.
III. The politics of health have been problematic.
A. Healthcare is a divisive political issue.
1. The Affordable Care Act was passed, controversially, in 2010 when Democrats held power in the executive and legislative branches of government.
2. According to Cowan and Cornwell, of Reuters, a republican led House of Representatives voted more than 60 times to make changes to this law (2017).
B. Prevention is apolitical.
1. It can appeal to both major political parties.
a. For the right, prevention fits their value of limited government intervention, as individuals would be responsible for their own health.
b. For the left, prevention offers a more compassionate approach forward.
2. Prevention could be our patriotic duty.
a. A healthier population contributes more to society and requires less government resources.
b. Prevention can be promoted through awareness rather than policy.
Transition: Prevention is a more practical alternative.
I. (Clarify purpose) I am not calling for an end to medical services. Medical treatment provides essential and lifesaving services, especially for illnesses that are not preventable. But prevention must be sought first and foremost.
II. (Review) I have demonstrated how prevention is preferable due to its lower cost, its greater potential to reduce human suffering, and its wider political appeal.
III. (Closer) When a fire breaks out, we must respond with action to put out that fire. But it is more important that we do everything in our power prevent a fire from starting in the first place. We can view our nation’s health crisis in the same way. I propose that we follow Benjamin Franklin’s lead, and remember that, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Vital Signs: Avoidable Deaths from Heart
Disease, Stroke, and Hypertensive Disease — United States, 2001–2010. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62(35). 721-727. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6235a4.htm?s_cid=mm6235a4_w
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014) Up to 40 percent of annual deaths from each
of five leading US causes are preventable. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0501-preventable-deaths.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017) Chronic Disease Overview. Retrieved from
Cowan, R., Cornwell, S. (2017) House votes to begin repealing Obamacare. Reuters. Retrieved
Dieleman, J. L., et al. (2017) Future and potential spending on health 2015–40: development
assistance for health, and government, prepaid private, and out-of-pocket health spending in 184 countries. The Lancet Oncology, 18(4). Retrieved from http://thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(17)30201-2/fulltext
Ford, E.S., Bergmann, M.M., Kröger, J., Schienkiewitz, A., Weikert, C., Boeing, H. (2009).
Healthy living is the best revenge: findings from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Potsdam study. Arch Intern Med, 169(15).
National Alliance for Caregiving. (2017) Caregiving in the U.S. Retrieved from
Makaray, M., & Daniel, M., (2016) Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US.
British Medical Journal, 353. Available from http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139