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Opinion: Waste vs. value in American healthcare

The New York Times, September 16, 2013

Give economists a drink – or not – and with a straight face they will tell you that the American health-care systems is one of the highest value-added sectors in the economy (see, for example, the book "Measuring the Gains From Medical Research," edited by Kevin M. Murphy and Robert H. Topel.) Give economists another drink – or not — and with the same straight face they will tell you that our system is alarmingly wasteful. To illustrate, in a presentation, "The Value Equation in Health Care," delivered at a conference at Rice University in 2007, the Harvard economist David Cutler, who has studied these issues extensively, noted: "I highlight two fundamental facts about health care."