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A Health Dividend for America: The Opportunity Cost of Excess Medical Expenditures

About the Initiative

  • The Institute of Medicine estimates that $750 billion is wasted in medical care each year in the United States.
  • This project examines the potential alternative uses of this money, and finds that it could be transformative for the US policy landscape, as well as promoting significantly greater population health.  
  • Findings from the study show that if cut from current healthcare expenditures, these funds could provide businesses and households with a huge windfall, with enough money left over to fund deficit reduction on the order of the most ambitious plans in Washington. 
  • The money could also cover needed investments in transportation infrastructure, early childhood education, human-capital programs, rural development, job-retraining programs and much more.
  • And it could transform America with little-to-no reduction in the quality of, or access to, healthcare actually provided.


This study demonstrates the monumental opportunity associated with eliminating excess medical-care costs and reallocating those resources to strengthen our international competitiveness, enhance our well-being and build a healthier nation


To Learn More

  • Consult the project website
  • View a webinar by Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding on the topic here
  • View a video on the topic here

Frederick Zimmerman

Photo of Health Policy & Management Chair Dr. Fred Zimmerman

Jonathan Fielding

Jonathan Fielding