Healthcare Costs and Waste

November 29, 2017
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Propublica has a story on waste in the medical industry:

Experts estimate the U.S. health care system wastes $765 billion annually — about a quarter of all the money that’s spent. Of that, an estimated $210 billion goes to unnecessary or needlessly expensive care, according to a 2012 report by the National Academy of Medicine

Having visited doctors in the past decade or two a few times, I can believe the 25% figure.  The billing structure alone creates massive amounts of waste.  But some see Propublica as overly liberal, so why not check their figures?   followed the links to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and clicked on this slideshow from 2012. Slide seven was particularly interesting. It included the following bullet points:

• Health care costs constitute 18% of U.S. GDP
• 30% increase in personal income over the past decade effectively
eliminated by a 76% increase in health care costs
• $750B in waste

Now, in 2012, the year the report was published, GDP was $16.16 trillion. If healthcare spending was 18% of that, it amounted to about $2.91 trillion. And $750B, the amounted wasted is a bit more than 25%.  Which is to say, Propublica’s numbers are in line with the National Academy’s numbers from 2012.

Which raises a question…  wasn’t the point of not moving to a single payer regime that the private sector would eliminate waste such as this?

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