$700 BILLION in U.S. Healthcare Waste!!

@anniepa (27238)
United States
November 4, 2009 3:06pm CST
Forgive me if I don't have the exact words or figures but you may recall President Obama stating on more than one occasion that something like $300-400 billion could be saved on healthcare just by stopping the waste. As it turns out, he was wrong...the actual amount is possibly double what he'd said!! According to a white paper published by Thomson Reuters the U.S. healthcare system wastes between $600 billion and $850 billion annually. Below is a breakdown of the waste and you can read more here: http://thomsonreuters.com/content/press_room/tsh/waste_US_healthcare_system * Unnecessary Care (40% of healthcare waste): Unwarranted treatment, such as the over-use of antibiotics and the use of diagnostic lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure, accounts for $250 billion to $325 billion in annual healthcare spending. * Fraud (19% of healthcare waste): Healthcare fraud costs $125 billion to $175 billion each year, manifesting itself in everything from fraudulent Medicare claims to kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services. * Administrative Inefficiency (17% of healthcare waste): The large volume of redundant paperwork in the U.S healthcare system accounts for $100 billion to $150 billion in spending annually. * Healthcare Provider Errors (12% of healthcare waste): Medical mistakes account for $75 billion to $100 billion in unnecessary spending each year. * Preventable Conditions (6% of healthcare waste): Approximately $25 billion to $50 billion is spent annually on hospitalizations to address conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes, which are much less costly to treat when individuals receive timely access to outpatient care. * Lack of Care Coordination (6% of healthcare waste): Inefficient communication between providers, including lack of access to medical records when specialists intervene, leads to duplication of tests and inappropriate treatments that cost $25 billion to $50 billion annually. In my opinion this clearly indicates that health care reform will SAVE more money than it costs if all of these problems are addressed even "halfway". Any comments? Annie
7 responses
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
5 Nov 09
It does look like they could work on that and the prices that are charged and make a big difference to make it work.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
6 Nov 09
"60 Minutes" did a segment about Medicare fraud several weeks ago. They told of people who actually set up phony medical supply businesses then they get people's Social Security Numbers and other info and bill Medicare for huge amounts for things ranging from oxygen tanks to motorized wheelchairs. There were people interviewed who had received the Medicare statement and saw charges they knew were bogus for things they knew they'd never received and they contacted Medicare but even so it often took months or even years for the charges to be stopped. Apparently Medicare claims they don't have enough personnel to police this type of fraud. Just the companies they uncovered amounted to billions in fraudulent billings to Medicare. That definitely needs to be stopped! If it means more people on the "government payroll" to work to prevent this we (the taxpayers) would still be ahead by billions! Annie
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
5 Nov 09
If you institute Tort Reform you could take care of a large part of the Unwanted treatment. This is not addressed any place in the President Plan. A bill was introduced wut was not allowed to get out of committee for a vote. Trial Lawyers have too much to lose with Tort Reform. If people would check their bills and statements you could catch more mistakes. Recently my wife had an operation and she had to stay overnight. She was charged twice for a Dr visit in one day. When questioned we were told by both the insurance company and the hospital that this is how the government rules work and since they have to be set up for Medicare and Medicaid they charge everyone twice for a Dr visit but only charge the medicare rate which is 1/2 of the normal Dr visit. My brother, who has a medical flex plan and medical savings account receives a discount of 25% if he pays up front. This is what the Office feels they save by not having to bill an insurance Company or send out bills and reminders.
1 person likes this
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
4 Nov 09
Hmm. I don't get it? Is this extortion? Is the ONLY way that government will clean up THEIR fraud and THEIR mess and THEIR created problems if we all agree to let them implement more of THEIR "change"? So, there's fraud and waste. A lot of it. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there's more than that lost. They know it's there. They've been known it's there. But now, suddenly, they're gung-ho about cleaning it up in order to put in new healthcare reforms? Weird. Would they not clean it up if they couldn't pass partisan healthcare? Never mind. We know that answer. None of them would. And that leads me to believe that they're ALL shmucks and they're ALL padding their pockets on taxpayer money.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
6 Nov 09
The only waste listed here that has to do with the government is the Medicare fraud, which I agree has to be stopped one way or another. The other items are not the fault of the government and it's quite clear the for profit health care providers and insurers aren't about to do anything about them if they're not forced to! Annie
• United States
6 Nov 09
One way or the other, government (all government!) let it get this much out of control, so it is THEIR mess, no matter how many particulars an individual cites to demonize insurance companies and compartmentalizes certain aspects to push for Obamacare. I agree there needs to be more regulation and a clean-up of the entire system, etc -- but it's extortion--leveraging Americans!!!!!--to suddenly claim that they'll do it now, especially since they're selling it as if they'll do it IF AND ONLY IF they can get their proposed measures passed. They should have ALWAYS been doing it and should always continue doing it, and it could and can all be done without a complete overhaul of the entire system. Extortion. This isn't a partisan post from me in the slightest. I am extremely ticked off that all aspects of healthcare spending were allowed to go so out of control. And I'm ticked off even more than any government (employees of the people!) would use sh1t they should have been handled as leverage to pass radically different policy.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
6 Nov 09
In my opinion the insurance companies absolutely DESERVE to be "demonized"! Annie
@Taskr36 (13925)
• United States
4 Nov 09
Annie, nobody has ever denied that a ridiculous amount of money is wasted by our government including health care. The question is, what makes you think the 2000 page load of crap they're calling a healthcare bill will END this waste? Here's an idea, end the waste FIRST, then MAYBE we can look into all the other things the democrats want to spend money on. Keep in mind, that's still money we don't have.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
6 Nov 09
The only thing the government can really do anything about now is the fraud in Medicare! What can they do about the rest of the waste, which adds up to 81% of it? Unnecessary Care (40% of healthcare waste) Administrative Inefficiency (17% of healthcare waste) Healthcare Provider Errors (12% of healthcare waste) Preventable Conditions (6% of healthcare waste) Lack of Care Coordination (6% of healthcare waste) Annie
• United States
4 Nov 09
Does this sound like what you want Annie? Speaker Pelosi has finally revealed the contents of the House of Representatives health care proposal -- what the Wall Street Journal calls "the worst bill ever" with "epic new spending and taxes, pricier insurance, rationed care, [and] dishonest accounting." In its present form, this is a dangerous bill that must be defeated. Problems with the Pelosi bill, HR 3962, include: $1.055 trillion in spending, with underhanded gimmicks to hide the impact of more than $200 billion being added to the deficit. A government-run health care plan, which would raise the cost of private insurance. $572 billion in new taxes, including: Employer pay-or-play mandates that will lead to job losses and lower wages, as well as increasing the cost of providing benefits to employees. Small businesses will be especially hard hit. Taxes on individual income that will hurt small business and, because the taxes are not indexed to inflation, cost the middle class hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years. Insurance mandates that could increase the price of some health care insurance by 300%. $426 billion in Medicare cuts.
@anniepa (27238)
• United States
6 Nov 09
I'm afraid I don't take what the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal prints as gospel. Anyway, that's not what this post was supposed to be about, it's about all the waste that exists. SOME of that waste IS the fault of the government but over 80% of it is the fault of the insurance companies and health providers. Annie
@stealthy (8188)
• United States
4 Nov 09
Such things for been know for many government programs for decades and no administration has be able to do more than make a very tiny dent in them. Now Obama expects to fund another new program that will be just as(if not more) subject to them as those in the past by doing what has been impossible before and that is to constrain big government beauracies.
@sierras236 (2740)
• United States
4 Nov 09
Yet, nothing in those thousand plus health care plans actually addresses the fraud in the system or have any real plans for getting rid of it. When the health care bill's state that they are cutting Medicare, they aren't talking about streamlining or fighting fraud, instead they are cutting actual programs. The government has always been synonymous with waste, it is just far more obvious now.