An underlying assumption in the current debate is that the solution to dealing with the nation’s health care system is dependent upon spending an additional one trillion dollars. A report from Thomson Reuters by Robert Kelley who handles health care issues, suggests there is plenty of money to pay for any changes in health care in the United States if waste could be eliminated. “America’s healthcare system is indeed hemorrhaging billions of dollars and the opportunities to slow the fiscal bleeding are substantial” according to Kelley. “The bad news is that an estimated $700 billion is wasted annually…the good news is that by attacking waste we can reduce healthcare costs without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care.”
The Thomson Reuters report charges fraudulent claims make up 22 percent of healthcare waste. Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up to 37% of healthcare waste. Lack of central data bases make up another substantial portion of waste. “The average US hospital spends one-quarter of its budget on billing and administration, nearly twice the average of Canada.” It goes on, “American physicians spends nearly eight hours per week on paperwork.”
The issues discussed in the report could mainly be overcome by having a national health care system run by the government as presently done by the Veterans Administration or Medicare.