Medicare paid $55 billion last year just for doctor and hospital bills during the last two months of patients' lives, and 20 to 30 percent of those medical expenses may have had no meaningful impact, according to a report by CBS's 60 Minutes.
The amount spent is more than the budget for the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Education. Most of the bills are paid by Medicare with few or no questions asked, the report says,
And even though most Americans say they want to die at home, 75 percent die in a hospital or a nursing home.
It is more efficient for doctors to manage seriously ill patients in a hospital, according to a study by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy. Also, most doctors get paid based on the number of patients they see, and most hospitals get paid for the patients they admit.
The Institute estimates around 30 percent of hospital stays in the United States are likely unnecessary. What do you think? Should end-of-life patients stay at home or go to a hospital?
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