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America wastes staggering $750 billion on health care each year

No one in Schenectady wants to pay more for something than they have to, especially if the higher price doesn't come with higher quality. Despite this, a new report says that we waste $750 billion each year in medical costs. This is not to say that all medical treatment is a waste, but 30 cents to every dollar is either for an unnecessary treatment, because the price of the service is inflated or because of a variety of other reasons.

Some of that extra cost is because of medical malpractice. The report indicates that $130 billion of the money wasted is due to inefficient care. This could mean that doctors are having to spend time and money doing more after a misdiagnosis or because a botched procedure needs to be re-done. Many of the other categories, such as unnecessary services, prevention failures and fraud could also be construed as medical malpractice.

The good news to come from all of this is that there are many people who believe that a tremendous amount of the $750 million could be cut without sacrificing quality. The fear, of course, is that in order to lower the price of medicine, the medical field will have to reduce the quality of its services. With a great deal of the money wasted due to inflated prices, however, the more appropriate concern is on controlling prices.

Schenectady patients know that if they are injured by a doctor's negligence or carelessness, they can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against him or her. By holding physicians responsible for their mistakes, they may be forced to perform better and more cost-effective medicine.

Source: Washington Post, "Report: About 30 cents of every health care dollar waste; US can cut costs without rationing," Sept. 6, 2012

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