Medical billing paperwork and insurance-related red tape cost the U.S. economy approximately $471 billion in 2012, 80% of which is waste due to the inefficiency of the nation's complex, multi-payer way of financing care, report the authors of an article in BMC Health Services Research. The researchers, with ties to the University of California, San Francisco, the City University of New York School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School, note that a simplified, single-payer system of financing health care similar to Canada's or the U.S. Medicare program could result in savings of approximately $375 billion annually, or more than $1 trillion over three years. Such savings could be used to cover everyone who is currently uninsured and to upgrade coverage for the tens of millions of Americans who now have inadequate policies with no increase in national health spending, they say.

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