U.S. Health Care Is Tied Up in Red Tape

Doctors, hospitals and insurers need standardized electronic billing systems.

The American health-care system has a unique problem with paperwork. The sheer number of participants — doctors, hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, patients — makes settling payments complicated, time-consuming and really expensive. The share of U.S. health-care spending devoted to administrative costs, including billing, is roughly three times what it is in other affluent countries, and it’s a major reason the U.S. spends twice as much on health care.

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