US Health Care Wastes $700B a Year

A third of spending is lost to pointless treatment, paperwork, fraud
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2009 5:53 AM CDT
US Health Care Wastes $700B a Year
Dr. Pedro Jose Greer examines Medicaid patient Kenneth Caldwell, 50, in his office at Mercy Hospital in Miami.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(Newser) – A study by Thomson Reuters released today confirms President Obama's contention that the American health care system is hemorrhaging billions of dollars a year, with one-third of the cost of care wasted on inefficiency, mistakes, and fraud. The report, which cites dozens of research papers, finds that about $700 billion is misspent each year, 37% of which is attributed to overuse of antibiotics and tests to avoid malpractice exposure.

Another 22% of waste is sucked up by kickbacks, fraudulent Medicare claims, or other scams. Inefficiencies, such as a paper-based records system, account for 18% of the waste, and medical mistakes 11%. "The opportunities to slow the fiscal bleeding are substantial," said the head researcher. "We can reduce health care costs without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care." (Read more health care stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.