JAMA spotlights medical waste.
Investigators who have examined six ways that money was wasted withinour health care system during 2011 have concluded that at least 21%of the total spent ($550 billion) was wasted and that the midpointestimates of these categories totaled $910 billion per year. The sixcomponents were failure of care delivery ($102 to $154 billionwasted), failure of care coordination ($25 to $45 billion),overtreatment ($158 to $226 billion), unnecessary administrativecomplexity ($107 and $389 billion), noncompetitive pricing ($84 and$178 billion), and fraud and abuse ($82 to $272 billion). Theinvestigators also note that broad payment and benefit cuts may harmpatients and lead to a less equitable health care system, whereasreducing waste would be by far the largest and most humane approachto creating an affordable care. [Berwick DM, Hackbarth AD.Eliminating waste in US health care. JAMA 307:1513-1516, 2012]