CHAPTER 2

Waste More, Want More

The US healthcare industry has an insatiable appetite. The array of health systems, physician groups, insurers, device companies, drugmakers, pharmaceutical distributors, imaging centers, and ambulatory clinics consume societal resources with a relentless, unappeasable hunger.

Billing bears no clear relationship to services. The numbers can be astronomical, even after providers apply negotiated insurer discounts. Surprise bills have become routine: a NORC survey found that most Americans (57 percent) have received a bill for treatments they thought their health insurance would cover.1 Surprise! Surprise! It’s so common that Kaiser Health News and National Public Radio have partnered to feature an outrageous “bill ...

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