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Page added on June 29, 2009

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The Key to Fixing Health Care and Energy: Use Less

Our health-care crisis and our energy crisis are complex dilemmas made of many complex problems. But our biggest problem in both health care and energy is essentially the same simple problem: we use too much. And in both cases, there’s a simple explanation for much of the problem: our providers get paid more when we use more.

Undoing these waste-promoting incentives

Everyone knows we use too much energy. Our addiction to fossil fuels is torching the planet, empowering hostile petro-states and straining our wallets. Meanwhile, studies by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and elsewhere suggest that more than half of our energy is lost through inefficiencies, calculations that don’t even include the energy we fritter away through wasteful behavior like leaving lights on or idling cars. We’re on course to increase electricity usage another 30% by 2030, which could require trillions of dollars worth of new emissions-belching power plants, so it would be much better to eliminate the usage that doesn’t add to our quality of life.

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