AirTalk for September 10, 2012

$750 billion wasted in the American health care industry every year...

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How can our health care system become more efficient?

There hasn’t been much argument that the United States health care system is in serious need of help. But a report recently released by the Institute of Medicine found $750 billion in our current system is wasted every year.

The extra spending falls into six major areas: unnecessary services, inefficient delivery of care, excessive administrative costs, price inflation, prevention failure, and fraud. Though the findings may be infuriating, they also offer some hope. The report sends a message to government that quality care can be maintained at less of a cost and offers ten recommendations to trim the fat out of the industry.

Could there be some fairly simple fixes to America’s health care woes? If there are, what will it take to get them implemented? And how does this all relate to the Affordable Care Act and health insurance mandates? Mitt Romney recently said he’d keep portions of the ACA, such as coverage for preexisting conditions and insurance for adult children up to the age of 26, but do away with others. How feasible is it to maintain these provisions without an individual mandate?


Guests:

Dr. Bruce Ferguson, Jr., M.D., member of the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Learning Health Care System in America, which conducted the study and published the report, Best Care at Lower Cost; Professor and Inaugural Chair, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, East Carolina Heart Institute in Greenville, North Carolina

Shana Alex Lavarreda, Director of Health Insurance Studies, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

Robert Zirkelbach, Press Secretary, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a national trade association representing nearly 1,300 health insurance companies


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