U.S. Health Care Costs: Billions, Trillions, Who Can be Bothered?

Print
Sunday, 28 July 2013 20:03

The NYT caught this one itself, but it still is worth noting. An article discussing hospitals' efforts to promote themselves included a quote from Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer at Scripps Health in California:

“We’re pushing $3 trillion in health expenditures, and one-third of that is waste.”

The piece originally said $3 billion in health expenditures. Of course mistakes happen, but you have to wonder if the NYT's editors would have missed the error if the original sentence told readers that:

"We’re pushing $3 billion in health expenditures [0.0188 percent of GDP], and one-third of that is waste.”

It seems unlikely that one would have found its way into print. Just as the $3 billion or $ 3 trillion number, without any context, are not meaningful to the vast majority of NYT readers, they also are not very meaningful to the NYT's editors either.

Thanks to Francois Furstenberg for calling this one to my attention.