Aetna CEO: Cut health system waste to avoid fiscal cliff

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Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said lawmakers should take steps to reduce wasteful spending in the healthcare system to help avoid the economy from going over the proverbial fiscal cliff. Speaking with NPR's Morning Edition radio program, Bertolini said paying for better outcomes and patients' improved health would change the system's focus, thereby saving millions of dollars. "I think the fact that we waste $750 billion a year on the healthcare system, about 30 percent of what we spend. So if we just fix the waste in the healthcare system, over 10 years that would pay back half of the nation's deficit," he said. "In today's system we pay for each unit of service provided and there is an incentive then to do more units of service, particularly when the government cuts back on the reimbursement for units of service," Bertolini added. Article