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Reuters Report: Healthcare system wastes up to $800 billion a year

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  • Reuters Report: Healthcare system wastes up to $800 billion a year

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. healthcare system is just as wasteful as President Barack Obama says it is, and proposed reforms could be paid for by fixing some of the most obvious inefficiencies, preventing mistakes and fighting fraud, according to a Thomson Reuters report released on Monday.

    The U.S. healthcare system wastes between $505 billion and $850 billion every year, the report from Robert Kelley, vice president of healthcare analytics at Thomson Reuters, found.

    "America's healthcare system is indeed hemorrhaging billions of dollars, and the opportunities to slow the fiscal bleeding are substantial," the report reads.

    "The bad news is that an estimated $700 billion is wasted annually. That's one-third of the nation's healthcare bill," Kelley said in a statement.

    "The good news is that by attacking waste we can reduce healthcare costs without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care."

    One example -- a paper-based system that discourages sharing of medical records accounts for 6 percent of annual overspending.

    "It is waste when caregivers duplicate tests because results recorded in a patient's record with one provider are not available to another or when medical staff provides inappropriate treatment because relevant history of previous treatment cannot be accessed," the report reads.

    Some other findings in the report from Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters:

    * Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of healthcare waste or $200 to $300 a year.

    * Fraud makes up 22 percent of healthcare waste, 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 healthcare 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.

    "The average U.S. hospital spends one-quarter of its budget on billing and administration, nearly twice the average in Canada," reads the report, citing dozens of other research papers.

    "American physicians spend nearly eight hours per week on paperwork and employ 1.66 clerical workers per doctor, far more than in Canada," it says, quoting a 2003 New England Journal of Medicine paper by Harvard University researcher Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.

    Yet primary care doctors are lacking, forcing wasteful use of emergency rooms, for instance, the report reads.

    All this could help explain why Americans spend more per capita and the highest percentage of GDP on healthcare than any other OECD country, yet has an unhealthier population with more diabetes, obesity and heart disease and higher rates of neonatal births than other developed nations.

    Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said on Sunday that Senate Democratic leaders are close to securing enough votes to pass legislation to start reform of the country's $2.5 trillion healthcare system.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  • #2
    yeah, trust the government. They can't even give out the vaccine for H1N1 without declaring a national emergency. How do they plan on running healthcare?
    "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DAL View Post
      "The good news is that by attacking waste we can reduce healthcare costs without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care."
      The bad news is that the government isn't known for streamlining much. I would argue that much of the inefficiency is directly due to government involvement.
      * Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of healthcare waste or $200 to $300 a year.
      200 to 300 billion. The only way to clean that up is to get the trial lawyers off doctor's backs and limit their risks. I'll believe that when I see it.
      * Fraud makes up 22 percent of healthcare waste, or up to $200 billion a year in fraudulent Medicare claims, kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services and other scams.
      That's their baby. What's holding them up? It's more likely that government healthcare spread across to everyone is going to increase the problem. They should show us how efficient they can make government care before they force it onto all of us.
      * Administrative inefficiency and redundant paperwork account for 18 percent of healthcare waste.
      Yep. More government will lead to higher administrative efficiency and less paperwork. Works every time.
      * Medical mistakes account for $50 billion to $100 billion in unnecessary spending each year, or 11 percent of the total.
      How are they going to prevent medical mistakes? And why haven't they done it at VA hospitals?
      * Preventable conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes cost $30 billion to $50 billion a year.
      When cookies are outlawed, only outlaws will have cookies.
      "The average U.S. hospital spends one-quarter of its budget on billing and administration, nearly twice the average in Canada," reads the report, citing dozens of other research papers.
      I wonder if Medicaid and Medicare have an influence?
      "American physicians spend nearly eight hours per week on paperwork and employ 1.66 clerical workers per doctor, far more than in Canada," it says, quoting a 2003 New England Journal of Medicine paper by Harvard University researcher Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.
      I wonder if Medicaid and Medicare have an influence?
      Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said on Sunday that Senate Democratic leaders are close to securing enough votes to pass legislation to start reform of the country's $2.5 trillion healthcare system.
      ...as soon as they secure the public option of course!

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      • #4
        Don't forget the cost of safeguarding the electronic databases. Hackers await unfortunately.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DAL View Post

          Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said on Sunday that Senate Democratic leaders are close to securing enough votes to pass legislation to start reform of the country's $2.5 trillion healthcare system.
          This last sentence reveals the purpose of the artcle, which, of course, is to cheerlead for the democrats.
          The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAL View Post

            "The average U.S. hospital spends one-quarter of its budget on billing and administration, nearly twice the average in Canada," reads the report, citing dozens of other research papers.

            "American physicians spend nearly eight hours per week on paperwork and employ 1.66 clerical workers per doctor, far more than in Canada," it says, quoting a 2003 New England Journal of Medicine paper by Harvard University researcher Dr. Steffie Woolhandler.

            .
            All the information out there about the Canadian system and the libs still try to say they have a better system. It must be worse than I thought if these week points are all that a Harvard researcher can come up with.
            The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.

            Comment


            • #7
              The health care bill isn't about health care. It's about generating a revenue stream for this enormous ponzi scheme we call the "federal government."

              Mark my words, something WILL pass--be it health care, cap & trade, or whatever. Something MUST pass in order for the government to keep limping along for a while. just my $0.02


              Also, I investigate health care fraud and the $$$ involved is staggering. A run-of-the-mill Licensed Practical Nurse can pull in over $250,000.00 per year. That's just one person! It's no wonder organized crime is moving in to health care fraud. It is extremely lucrative and if caught, it's considered "white-collar crime" (non-violent) and the ramifications are relatively small.

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