You can’t handle the “truth” about health care

The Economist reports that fraudulent healthcare claims consume $272 billion each year and the Institute of Medicine estimates that 30% of all healthcare spending is unnecessary in its 2013 “Best Care at Lower Cost” report. Source: Employee Benefit Advisor 

Even if the above is only partially correct, think of the implications both cost-wise and health wise. So, whose fault is it; health care providers, insurers, government OR patients? 



  1. The numbers are eye catching but without context are free floating factoids that are fairly meaningless. What percentage of total health care spending does the $272 billion represent? Ten percent? One percent? Whatever the percent, how does that compare to fraudulent transactions in other sectors of the economy? Banking? Wall street? Government spending?

    Regarding the “unnecessary” spending, I’m reminded of the so-called medical ethicist who staked out a principled position that we should let those over a certain age, I think it was around eighty, to die rather than spend any money on medical care for them. When asked if he would apply that personally to his own mother, he replied, “Of course not.”

    Necessity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


      1. I guess my point is: numbers numb when no context is provided. In any human endeavor there is inefficiency and waste. If $272 billion is 1% vs. 8% (that you have now provided) it makes a difference as to whether it is reasonable to expect much improvement. Throughout my life I have heard and read about what a large savings can be produced if we can only reduce “fraud, waste and abuse.” My own guestimate is that fraud, waste and abuse is around 10% in most every human effort. Its like fighting crime, we must do it – and it will always be there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s