August 10th, 2009
12:18 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: $1.2 trillion down the drain

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2009/08/10/news/economy/healthcare_money_wasters/chart_health_care_waste2.gif" width=220 height=559]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

As the health care debate rages among lawmakers, in town hall meetings across the country and on every broadcast and cable network, CNNMoney.com has drilled down into a report that found more than half of the $2.2 trillion the United States spends on health care each year is a waste of money.

According to the most recent data from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute, there are 16 different areas in which health care dollars are squandered.

But in talking to doctors, nurses, hospital groups and patient advocacy groups, six areas totaling nearly $500 billion stood out as issues to be dealt with in the health care reform debate, including unnecessary tests, inefficient claims processing and medical errors.

GM teams with eBay

More than 225 General Motors dealers in California will begin selling cars and trucks through the eBay online auction site as part of a four-week trial.

Under the program, which begins Tuesday, consumers will be able to bargain with dealers for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Pontiac cars and trucks from model years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The program ends Sept. 8.

The new car shopping website, gm.ebay.com, will feature a selection of up to 20,000 new GM vehicles at what the companies promise are "competitive prices."

Shoppers will be able to buy cars outright at the advertised price using the site's "Buy It Now" option, or they can suggest a price under the "Best Offer" option, which may then be negotiated with the dealer.


Stocks off to cautious start

Stocks on Wall Street opened lower as investors expressed caution following a rally that has pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 to 9-month highs.

No major economic reports are on tap today, giving investors time to digest the recent rally that’s been fueled by a spate of positive earnings surprises and economic news that showed stabilization.

Later in the week, Investors will be looking ahead to a two-day Fed meeting and earnings reports from big retailers like Wal-Mart and Macy's.

Gas climbs nearly 19 cents in 20 days

Gas prices continue to climb, with the national average up nearly 19 cents over the last 20 days.

According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline edged up 0.2 cents overnight to $2.645. Prices have increased every day since July 21, when the national average stood at $2.458 a gallon. During that time, the national average has risen 18.7 cents, or 7.6%.

he highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.179).  The cheapest are in South Carolina ($2.424).

The spike comes as the price of crude oil has been pushed higher by signs of economic stabilization and the rally on Wall Street.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • GM • Health Care • Wall St.
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Janine from PA.

    Trillions being wasted in a for profit industry? NO! I'm shocked! Of course this is happening. That money could be put into a decent health care system that is run non profit. Most people are established in their insurance companies make them all work together as a non profit entity. Then bring all the money from medicare and medicaid into it. Jobs can be created by opening sateillite offices to sign up the uninsured and get them into the system. This of course does not include illegals. What we pay out to the insurance compaies goes to the government instead to cover the expenses. Hopefully if it is done right our health care costs would go down. That's the key, it has to be done right.

    August 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  2. Michael C. McHugh

    Somehow, I just don't trust big insurance companies to run things, any more than I trust Wall Street. Right this moment, the people on Wall Street are still playing Monopoly as if nothing ever happened, only they'd all be out of business today if the government hadn't propped them up.

    What's the evidence that we can trust these people to even run a hot dog stand?

    August 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  3. JC- Los Angeles

    It's becoming increasing clear that President Obama knows that he needs to create an industry that will stimulate the economy and stimulate Wall Street and he's trying to do it under the artificial veil of health care reform.

    With the global economy in ruin due to mortgage fraud, universal health care fraud is the industry President Obama and Congress are trying to immediately create.

    Wall Street, before crashing and burning, made a killing on mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps and they would like nothing better than to do it again with insurance premiums.

    They could have conservative health care default swaps for 18-45 year old healthy policy holders and riskier health care default swaps for 65-85 year olds.

    Since our nation manufactures and produces nothing that anyone wants to buy, it looks like universal health care fraud is our only hope.

    August 10, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  4. RLWellman

    If the Government would get their hands out of health care it would not cost as much as it does now. All the paper work garbage and they don't know what they are doing any way.

    Their answer to problems is throw money at it or add more people. This is their answer to all the problems! They really do not know how to run any thing right.

    August 10, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  5. GH

    I don't appreciate it being implied that I'm brainwashed, or stupid. I agree that government can barely regulate itself and that the healthcare system is broken - as is clearly illustrated by this story. But I think the plan is at least one alternative to a broken system. And it is NOT intended to be an Uncle-Sam takeover as the REAL wannabe brainwashers - the bigoted, angry, paranoid, war-mongering, ultra-conservative, insurance company-favoring crooks who hate a black Democratic President - would have America believe.

    August 10, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  6. earle,florida

    It still amazes me why we find,or try to find such a sense-of-urgency regarding healthcare,when every american today,present time is hemorhaging some sort of financial crises. Loss of home,loss of job,losses in 401,pension plans,stock market,no-job-creation,etc.,etc., etc.,and now the government figures it's the ultimate,and paramount time to create a healthcare agenda? We currently have 85%+ of the population with good healthcare, thankyou. So what's the rush...? PS What's with the gas prices? Maybe they had a refinery fire/explosion/disturbance somewhere in the world they don't want us to know about,or just that their tired of lying,whatever,no-one in the government even investigates anymore,pathetic,...

    August 10, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Arachnae

    They= heath care system is broken, but I’m not for Uncle Sam taking over. Big government can’t regulate itself.

    And yet you have no problem (I presume) with Big Government employing three million people whose job it is to go wherever Big Government says to go and kill whoever Big Government says to kill, and has a budget WELL in excess of half a trillion a year.

    I suspect it would be heresy in your crowd to suggest the military is 'unregulated' or that they are anything but efficient and effective. If Big Government can run the armed forces, why are you so chicken about their ability to run anything they put their minds to?

    August 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  8. Michael C. McHugh

    Why not split the health care reform bill into smaller sections, then pass each one separately?

    At least something will get signed fairly quickly that way, instead of betting the store on one big bill.

    So why not have a separate bill on Medicaid expansion, for example, and another on reform of private insurance.

    Save the most difficult and contentious issue for last–Medicare, public option, single payer, cooperatives, and so on.

    August 10, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  9. John Vostenak

    We need more articles on Wasted health care's dollars !! ... may be than the " factual ignorants " will see the savings we can all have to pay for the New Heath Care Universal, as we all should have and we all need !

    August 10, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  10. Kim

    The graph doesn't even include all the unnecessary, obnoxious, paper work that must be filled out several times and then checked and re-checked by office staff. AND although sometimes offices are efficient, more often than not, said paper work can not be found, or doctors don't make call back in a timely manner. They= heath care system is broken, but I'm not for Uncle Sam taking over. Big government can't regulate itself. Now they want to regulate MY health care choices. I'm scared, but for all you staunch supports of the new plan, I'm not stupid. Just not brain washed by the belief that this will actually work.

    August 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  11. Teri Osborn

    WOW!! Thanks for sharing this story.

    August 10, 2009 at 12:57 pm |