WASHINGTON ? Don?t discount the health-care discussion anytime soon. Long after the November 6 elections, the pains of health-care costs will continue.
A recent report by Institute of Medicine has revealed that the U.S. health care system ?squanders $750 billion a year ? roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar ? through unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste,? writes the Washington Post.
?Health care in America presents a fundamental paradox,? said the report, which was compiled by an 18-member panel of prominent experts including doctors, business people and public officials. ?The past 50 years have seen an explosion in biomedical knowledge, dramatic innovation in therapies and surgical procedures, and management of conditions that previously were fatal ... Yet, American health care is falling short on basic dimensions of quality, outcomes, costs and equity.?
The report says that if banking worked like our current health care system, ATM transactions would take days, and if home building were like health care, carpenters, electricians and plumbers would work from different blueprints and hardly talk to each other. For shopping, prices would not be posted and could vary widely within the same store, depending on who was paying. And for airline travel, pilots would be free to design their own preflight safety checks ? or not perform one at all.
The report identified six major areas of waste: unnecessary services ($210 billion annually); inefficient delivery of care ($130 billion); excess administrative costs ($190 billion); inflated prices ($105 billion); prevention failures ($55 billion), and fraud ($75 billion). Adjusting for some overlap among the categories, the panel settled on an estimate of $750 billion.
And to put $750 billion in perspective, the Post writes: ?The one-year estimate of health-care waste is equal to more than 10 years of Medicare cuts in Obama?s health-care law. It?s more than the Pentagon budget. It?s more than enough to care for the uninsured.?
"The threats to Americans' health and economic security are clear and compelling, and it's time to get all hands on deck," said committee chair Mark D. Smith, president and CEO, California HealthCare Foundation, in a press release. "Our health care system lags in its ability to adapt, affordably meet patients' needs, and consistently achieve better outcomes.�But we have the know-how and technology to make substantial improvement on costs and quality. Our report offers the vision and road map to create a learning health care system that will provide higher quality and greater value."
What Will the Elections Mean to You?
There?s still time to join NACS on September 11 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT for a webinar on what?s happening and what?s at stake in this year?s elections.
The webinar will cover upcoming legislation and regulations in Congress ?�including health care ? that could impact your bottom line. Whether you own two stores or 4,000, this webinar will help you better understand the people forming the laws that affect your business.
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