Lifestyle & Belief

US health care wastes $750 billion each year, Institute of Medicine says


Supporters and protesters gather in front of the US Supreme Court to find out the ruling on the Affordable Health Act. The Supreme Court has upheld almost all of the legislation.


Mark Wilson

Feel forever indebted to your doctor for saving your life? Don't worry about it. The US health care system blows about $750 billion each year, or 30 cents of every medical dollar, on unnecessary care, bad paperwork, fraud and other forms of waste, a new report by the Institute of Medicine has found.  

 "American health care is falling short on basic dimensions of quality, outcomes, costs and equity," the report concluded, according to the Associated Press

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The report recommends "educating patients to become more savvy consumers," among other solutions, but the six major areas of waste seem to be not the patient's fault, but medical providers'. According to the AP, the major areas of waste are unnecessary services ($210 billion); inefficient delivery of care ($130 billion); excess administrative costs ($190 billion); inflated prices ($105 billion); prevention failures ($55 billion), and fraud ($75 billion).

“In some ways the system is the best the world has seen, but it could be a lot better for less money,” said Mark Smith, chief executive officer of the California HealthCare Foundation in Oakland and IOM panel chairman, told Bloomberg News. “We’re wasting a fair amount of money and we’re wasting opportunities to improve care.”