Overtreatment Costing US $210 Billion a Year

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Via Tara Parker-Pope, an important reminder of how much waste there is in the US health care system:

When it comes to medical care, many patients and doctors believe more is better.

But an epidemic of overtreatment — too many scans, too many blood tests, too many procedures — is costing the nation’s health care system at least $210 billion a year, according to the Institute of Medicine, and taking a human toll in pain, emotional suffering, severe complications and even death.

“What people are not realizing is that sometimes the test poses harm,” said Shannon Brownlee, acting director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation and the author of “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.”

“Sometimes the test leads you down a path, a therapeutic cascade, where you start to tumble downstream to more and more testing, and more and more invasive testing, and possibly even treatment for things that should be left well enough alone.”

Recall that the Affordable Care Act costs about $100 billion a year, or half of what we’re wasting on overtreatment.

This entry was posted in Economy, Health, Miscellany.

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