A new OECD report released Jan. 10 reveals a shocking truth: About 20 cents of every dollar spent on health care in OECD countries is wasted in some fashion. That waste represents more than 20 percent of total health expenditure in the United States.
The findings of the report, entitled "Tackling Wasteful Spending on Health," will be discussed at a meeting for OECD Ministers of Health in Paris on Jan. 16–17.
According to the report's author, Agnès Couffinhal, a senior OECD health economist, it is alarming that around one-fifth of health expenditure makes no or minimal contribution to good health outcomes, especially at a time when public budgets are under pressure worldwide.
As she explains, "Governments could spend 20 percent less on health care and still improve patients' health." With as much as 9 percent of GDP spent on health-care systems across the OECD — 6.75 percent of which is by federal governments — this savings could mean a lot.