Category Archives: health care costs

U.S. Wastes More Than Half of Health Spending

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Health care isn’t exactly known for its efficiency, but a new analysis from PricewaterhouseCoopers puts the value of the waste sloshing around in the system at a whopping $1.2 trillion a year.

wasteThat’s right. Trillion–with a T. The findings of the firm’s Health Research Institute suggest that up to that much “wasteful spending” could be going on, more than half the $2.2 trillion spent on health care in this country.

including ineffective use of information technology ($81-$88 billion), claims processing, ($21-$210 billion) and defensive medicine ($210 billion). Medical errors cost $17 billion and badly-managed diabetes is tied to $22 billion.

the analysis adds to a growing pile of other research (including the granddaddy of the genre, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care) focused on unnecessary health-care expenditures.

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Runaway health care costs — we’re #1!

The latest Trustees’ reports from Social Security and Medicare show, once again, that there is no such thing as Socialsecuritymedicareandmedicaid. Social Security, the subject of thousands of demands that we get “serious” and cut benefits, is doing relatively well. The real problem lies in health care costs.

I am, of course, a big proponent of health care reform. But is there any reason to think that reform would curb the growth of costs?

Well, I was browsing some of the charts at CMS, and thought I’d share some information from Chart 2.1. This table shows health care spending as a percentage of GDP in some major countries, 35 years ago and recently:


Everybody knows that the US spends much more on health care than anyone else

What I didn’t realize was just how clearly the evidence shows that the rising trend is steepest in the US. We have the biggest increase as well as the highest level. We’re #1!

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