posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 10:47 PM
Health care's big money wasters
More than $1.2 trillion spent on health care each year is a waste of money. Members of the medical community identify the leading causes.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Down the drain: $1.2 trillion.
That's half of the $2.2 trillion the United States spends on health care each year, according to the most recent data from accounting firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute.
What counts as waste? The report identified 16 different areas in which health care dollars are squandered. But in talking to doctors, nurses,
hospital groups and patient advocacy groups, six areas totaling nearly $500 billion stood out as issues to be dealt with in the health care reform
Too many tests
Doctors ordering tests or procedures not based on need but concern over liability or increasing their income is the biggest waste of health care
dollars, costing the system at least $210 billion a year, according to the report. The problem is called "defensive medicine."
"Sometimes the motivation is to avoid malpractice suits, or to make more money because they are compensated more for doing more," said Dr. Arthur
Garson, provost of the University of Virginia and former dean of its medical school. "Many are also convinced that doing more tests is the right
thing to do."
"But any money that is spent on a patient that doesn't improve the outcome is a waste," said Garson.