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Health Care System Wastes Up to $850 Billion Annually, Report Says

5 years ago
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According to a report by Thomson Reuters, the American health care system wastes between $505 billion and $850 billion every year, which is up to a third of the nation's total health care costs. "America's health care system is indeed hemorrhaging billions of dollars, and the opportunities to slow the fiscal bleeding are substantial," said the report, which was completed by Thomson Reuters' vice president for health care analytics.

The report highlights several key areas where the U.S. system excels at inefficiency:

-- Unnecessary care, such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests, to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of health care waste.

-- Fraud makes up 22 percent of the wasted expenditures, or up to $200 billion a year in fraudulent Medicare claims, kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services and other scams.

-- Administrative inefficiency and redundant paperwork account for 18 percent of waste.

-- Medical mistakes account for $50 billion to $100 billion in unnecessary spending each year, or 11 percent of the total.

-- Preventable conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes cost $30 billion to $50 billion a year.
Filed Under: Health Care

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