US Health Care Bleeds $1T, But Can Be Saved

Preventative model could save taxpayers billions
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2008 5:35 PM CST
US Health Care Bleeds $1T, But Can Be Saved
Doctors rely too much on testing and procedures that can lead to misdiagnoses and complications, industry leaders say.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

What America needs is another preemptive strike, executives say—in the world of health care. As Barack Obama gears up to reform the industry, several health care leaders say that up to half of the nation's $2.3 trillion health budget is wasted. In a broad consensus, they call for a pay-for-results plan that includes electronic records, incentives to promote success, and a large-scale investment in wellness and prevention.

Doctors currently get paid per visit, which gives them no reason to keep patients away. Execs say that a better structure would prevent chronic illness—which drains 75% of the money—by encouraging prevention and spending less on pricey tests that often lead to misdiagnoses. "The current system is very hospital-centric," said one hospital president. "We wait for people to get sick, and then we invest enormous sums to fix them up." (Read more America stories.)

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