Reducing administrative costs in US health care

Closeup shot of an unrecognizable doctor using a digital tablet in a hospital

The Problem

Administrative costs account for one-quarter to one-third of total health-care spending in the United States—far greater than the amount necessary to deliver effective health care. Excessive administrative burden results in higher costs for physicians, insurers, and patients alike.

The Proposal

Cutler proposes several reforms to the U.S. health-care system aimed at reducing administrative costs. Specifically, his proposal would establish a clearinghouse for bill submission, simplify prior authorization, harmonize quality reporting, and enhance data interoperability in the health-care system. Cutler’s proposal to lower administrative costs could save $50 billion annually.

The author did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this article or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this article. Neither is currently an officer, director, or board member of any organization with a financial or political interest in this article.