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."