Health care spending in the United States is widely deemed to be growing at an unsustainable rate, and policy-makers increasingly seek ways to slow that growth or reduce spending overall. A key target is eliminating waste—spending that could be eliminated without harming consumers or reducing the quality of care that people receive. According to some estimates, this may constitute one-third to nearly one-half of all U.S. health spending.
Waste can include spending on services that lack evidence of producing better health outcomes, compared to less expensive alternatives; inefficiencies in the provision of health care goods and services; and costs incurred while treating avoidable medical injuries, such as preventable infections in hospitals. It can also include fraud and abuse, which was the topic of a Health Affairs/RWJF Health Policy Brief published on July 31, 2012.
This Health Policy Brief focuses on types of waste in health care other than fraud and abuse; on ideas for eliminating it; and on the considerable hurdles that must be overcome to do so, and was published online on December 13, 2012 in Health Affairs.
Series provides clear, accessible overviews of timely and important health policy topics. The briefs are geared to policy-makers, congressional staffers, and others who need short, jargon-free explanations of health policy basics.About the series