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News Summary: Medicare overpays for back braces

The Associated Press

DEAL OR NO DEAL: Standard back braces that cost $99 on the Internet cost Medicare over $900, just one sign of how wasteful spending drives up health care costs.

MANY ACHING BACKS: The $96 million that Medicare spent on back braces in 2011 was a small sliver of its total spending, but that amount had more than doubled in just three years, up from $36 million in 2008, a federal report said.

BIG PIECE OF THE PIE: It's estimated that the health care system squanders $750 billion a year, about 30 cents of every medical dollar, through unneeded care, wasteful spending and fraud.