Health care in the U.S. is set apart from the rest of the world by its high costs caused by waste and inefficiency. Some estimate put this level of waste at 30% or more. There is no single solution that will stabilize health care costs as a percent of the economy. Therefore, a multi-pronged approach involving all stakeholders—providers, consumers, employees—is needed. Alternatives to fee-for-service reimbursement are in development. These alternatives must be implemented on a broad scale and replace public programs like Medicare. Insurers and providers must push, and patients must insist on high-value prevention over procedures that may have low chance of success. Patients could also lower system costs by taking their medications as prescribed. Today, more than 20% of first-time prescriptions are never filled, and 50% that are prescribed for chronic conditions are not renewed after six months.
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