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December 9, 2009

Eliminating “Waste” in Health Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: National Bureau of Economic Research, Stanford, California.

JAMA. 2009;302(22):2481-2482. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1821

President Obama is the most recent in a long line of US presidents to seek reductions in health care spending through elimination of “waste.” However, the stakes this time are unusually high—the president has reported that eliminating waste is needed to fund two-thirds of the approximately $900 billion needed (over 10 years) for expanded health care coverage.1 To achieve this goal requires defining waste, identifying contexts in which it occurs, determining why it occurs, and implementing policies that prevent reoccurrence.

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