Free Marketeer's Healthcare Scheme Would be Chaos

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , February 28, 2013

The media are abuzz with some radical—and scary—ideas from David Goldhill, a new voice in healthcare who believes his solutions can stifle our out-of-control spending and quality woes.

You may have seen his name on a New York Times opinion piece last Sunday, and a week ago, he even scored a six-minute segment on The Colbert Report.

Goldhill says he's figured out what's wrong with our healthcare system and what is needed to fix it after watching a hospital botch his late father's care with a hospital-acquired infection. He's written it all up in a book: Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father.

Goldhill is not a doctor, a politician, or think tank policy wonk. Rather he is president and CEO of GSN, a cable game show entertainment network delivered to 80 million households, which pays health premiums for 300 employees.

We talked and sometimes argued by phone for an hour last week.

I can't disagree with his passionate assessment of all that's wrong in the healthcare system:  Yes, prices are out of control, yes, we waste money with unnecessary care that causes harm, and yes, federal and private payer bureaucracies are inefficient and obfuscatory, and of course, today's fee for service systems have done a lousy job motivating hospitals and doctors to improve quality and safety.

But his solution would spell downright chaos, especially for measuring and reporting on quality processes and outcomes.

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5 comments on "Free Marketeer's Healthcare Scheme Would be Chaos"

Wayne Wasden (3/17/2013 at 4:06 AM)
Ms. Clark, You should be ashamed of yourself. Your liberal sermonizing has been placed in stark comparison to individual empowerment, accountability and responsibility. Mr. Goldhill has simply stated facts and the truth about how markets and human nature work. Last I looked market forces continue to work extremely well in the U.S. system, especially when they are not tinkered with or controlled by people who view themselves as wiser than the consumer. It is also a sad fact that this discussion for a significant change to a tried and successful way of doing business will never be elevated because of those who currently exercise control over market forces. And a single payer systems does not significantly alter the incentives so clearly dominating behavior. There is no more broken system than the U.S. Healthcare System with it's incentives clearly exposed and articulated by Mr. Goldhill. Ms. Clark, with all you clout and contacts, do all you can to move this discourse to a higher level. Bravo Mr. Goldhill

MayoVictim (3/6/2013 at 5:03 PM)
There's a simple solution to the US healthcare system. It is just to adopt a European style single payer system. The Europeans have better healthcare outcomes. It costs much less than the US system and when I lived and worked in the UK and Europe I never heard anyone in the medical industry complain about their remuneration. Of course the AMA and their handmaiden in congress have a done good job demonizing what they label as "socialized Medicine" but I can tell you that from my personal experience as a patient and worker in the healthcare industry it's way better than what we have in the US. I'll now wait for nonsense comments about waiting lists and death panels.

MBRose (3/1/2013 at 1:46 PM)
Bravo Mr. Goldhill! Perhaps by thinking far outside the box of 'standardized care' schemes and shaking up the illness healthcare system currently worshiped in this country, true life changing improvements might happen. Maybe the 'Tippong Point' has finally been reached and society will move forward in handing the power for self-care back to the individual and out of the hands of insurance companies and physicians, who have NOT improved outcomes or increased longevity and quality of life in decades...but have become some of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals and corporations in the process. Change, big change, never happens easily or smoothly. Yes there might be some missteps along the way. However it is time to do something differently...anything differently. We have followed this insanity for far too long, doing the same kinds of things over and over again, expecting improved outcomes and results. Isn't that the definition of insanity? Yet we have bought the bill of goods, hook, line, and sinker each and every time! I say bring on a bit of chaos and let real change begin to happen.




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