Fight over bill said inflates care costs

Aug. 21, 2003 at 9:11 AM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The cost of processing U.S. heath care paperwork, on a per-patient basis, is more than three times the cost in Canada, a Harvard study shows.

Part of the reason is the wrangling over who is going to pay the bill, the Wall Street Journal said Thursday.

The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. It said savings gleaned from a national health insurance system like Canada's would be enough to provide medical insurance for the 41 million Americans who lack coverage.

"What we've got now under the current health-care system in the U.S. is a giant food fight between doctors, hospitals, patients and insurance companies as to who gets stuck with the bill," said Steffie Woolhandler, associate medical professor at Harvard Medical School and the study's lead author.

But, in an editorial, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution in Washington questioned the motivation of the study's researchers.

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