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Theres more evidence for-profit health services drain money from care. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that administering American health care costs more than three times as much as in Canada.

The authors found 1999 health administration spending was US$1,059 per person in the States, compared with just US$307 per person in Canada. The study looked at how hospitals, nursing homes, home care agencies, doctors offices and health insurance plans were run. The study also found that administration ate up a bigger chunk of US health budgets, accounting for 31 per cent of US health spending, compared to 16.7 per cent of Canadas health spending.

The authors conclude by looking to Canadas single-payer system, which eliminates the wasteful duplication of administrative services (including billing and advertising departments). They conclude by saying a large sum might be saved in the United States if administrative costs could be trimmed by implementing a Canadian-style health care system. To read a summary of the article, visit www.nejm.com.