The American Government Is Wasteful

How to save billions in health care spending

How to save billions in health care spending

When it comes to health care, the American government has been asleep at the wheel for a long time. If we want to do something about that, it will have to be in many, many different forms.

A recent study published in the journal Perspectives in Health Care found that only 2 percent of U.S. government health care spending was spent on what might be called “clinical” care (which includes everything from preventive medicine to treatments for diseases like cancer), while health care spending accounts for nearly a third of all the country’s economic activity.

This brings up the question of whether government should be spending all its efforts on the kind of “clinical” care that is more costly than it is worth, or on the kinds of care that are worth so much less in the first place that they are wasting our time and money.

There are a number of possibilities for reducing the waste. The most obvious would be a switch to cost-effective care, where the government gets more of the money it needs to buy cheaper care. But that would be too easy. The real issue is whether those dollars should be spent on the care that is most important—the kind of care that will make the biggest difference in terms of preventing death and disability from illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular disease (heart disease), as well as other medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

The answer is an easy one once you factor in the facts: They should be spent on treating the causes of those conditions, not just the symptoms.

One way to get there is to spend the money on prevention. The best way to avoid the most serious of these chronic diseases is to lead a healthy life. In fact, it is likely that the cost of premature mortality and disability, as well as the costs of many other chronic illnesses, were not reduced by the widespread adoption of health insurance. In fact, the increase in health care spending over the last thirty years is equal to between one third and two thirds of the increase in health insurance spending over the same period.

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