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.)