"David Goldhill has written a devastating and utterly original analysis of what has gone wrong with the American health care system. Read it, and take a deep breath. He will convince you that our ‘solutions’ are not solving our problems. They are making our problems worse."
"David Goldhill is a genius observer of a broken system in need of fresh ideas. His testimony and common-sense ideas are devastatingly important in light of out-of-control medical prices. A must-read for doctors, policy-makers and patients alike. Catastrophic Care is a defining book of our era, and a roadmap for fixing our country's leading debt driver. You will never see medical care the same way."
—Marty Makary, MD, best-selling author of Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Healthcare
"For those who are troubled by both the failures of our healthcare system and the misdirected diagnoses and prescriptions offered by pundits, policy experts, and politicians from across the political spectrum, David Goldhill offers a brilliant and much needed antidote. By calling out with remarkable clarity the numerous, but now almost invisible incentives and regulations that drive the dysfunction of our current system, Catastrophic Care provides an illuminating framework for understanding the crisis, and then a path to the kinds of reforms that will surely be necessary."
—Jeffrey S. Flier, Dean of the Faculty, Harvard Medical School
"[A] fascinating and infuriating expose of the American health care system . . . Goldhill persuasively argues that a consumer-driven system – which will require greater vigilance and commitment on the part of citizens in actively managing their health – is the first step toward sustainability and lower individual and government costs. . . . Goldhill's reasoned, logical alternative to the current system goes beyond political finger-pointing, and while his take is sobering, it’s one that offers sound solutions."
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"[Catastrophic Care] is powerful—edge-of-the-seat riveting—because it is not, in any sense, a policy book. Rather, this is a story about saving ourselves . . . It steps outside of the established political debate and lexicon—one of the rare books addressing a major national policy issue that is able to do so in language not already debased by the problem itself . . . Alas, healthcare civilians can't actually read most books about healthcare (and if you can, then you are part of the problem). But you can read this one."
—Michael Wolff, The Guardian
"Highly readable presentation of one businessman’s solution, likely to provoke discussion if not agreement."
"Thought provoking . . . A for-profit business executive who actually states that better than adequate health care should be available to all people in the country . . . As an industry outsider—neither a clinician, policymaker, or someone who works for the healthcare industry—Mr. Goldhill observes and explains the issues in an understandable manner for the layperson."
—New York Journal of Books
"The best popular health care book . . . a crystal clear account of what has gone wrong and how to fix it."
—Tyler Cowen, Holbert L. Harris Professor of Economics, George Mason University
"[A] comprehensive, thought-provoking, empirical, and well-written book."
—Matthew Continetti, The Weekly Standard
—Wayne Holliday, Decatur Daily
“Goldhill’s perspective is invaluable to the health-care discussion, elevating his personal tragedy into an impressive body of research. Written with both pain and passion, this book provides an informative and relatable treatise.”
—Elizabeth J. Eastwood, Library Journal
"Innovative . . . Goldhill presents a convincing argument in many ways, and this book already has challenged policymakers to examine his proposals.”
—William P. Moran, Charleston (SC)Post and Courier
“David Goldhill isn’t your typical policy expert. He is the chief executive officer of GSN. That’s right, the Game Show Network. What does he know about health care? Quite a bit, it turns out.”
—Chelsea Conaboy, Boston Globe, White Coat Notes
Nearly three years ago, Goldhill's father died from a series of infections contracted during his stay in an ICU unit of a well-known hospital, a tragedy first recounted by the author in a cover story for the Atlantic in 2009. Goldhill returns to his story and greatly expands on it in this fascinating and infuriating exposé of the American health care system, identifying its many flaws and suggesting pragmatic ways to fix them. Maintaining that the health care industry needs to answer first to consumers and then to insurance and pharmaceutical companies, Goldhill persuasively argues that a consumer-driven system—which will require greater vigilance and commitment on the part of citizens in actively managing their health—is the first step toward sustainability and lower individual and governmental costs. Deftly avoiding political land mines, Goldhill takes a fittingly clinical approach, examining the intricacies of Medicare ("already doomed, a victim of the perverse incentives inherent in its structure") and the Affordable Care Act before presenting his vision of recipient-based care. Goldhill's reasoned, logical alternative to the current system goes beyond political finger-pointing, and while his take is sobering, it's one that offers sound solutions. First printing: 50,000. Agent: The Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (Jan.)
A media executive's take on our health care system's flaws and plan for a totally different approach. When Goldhill witnessed the death of his father from a hospital-borne infection, he decided to analyze the industry to understand how such a tragedy could occur, concluding that it does not live up to the standards of other industries in our economy. Contrary to the views of acclaimed economists Ken Arrow and Paul Krugman, Goldhill, who has not worked in the health care industry, asserts that the reason the industry provides poor customer service at unaffordable prices and gets uneven results is in large part because market forces are not at work. Patients have ceded their role as consumers to big intermediaries, including insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. As in other businesses, he argues, demanding consumers (i.e., patients) can affect quality of services, prices and safety. Goldhill proposes a system that combines a national insurance plan with a market-based system. His plan has three components: mandatory cradle-to-grave catastrophic health insurance with low premiums and a very high deductible; health savings accounts to which individuals would be required to contribute payments based on their age; and health loans, which would enable individuals to borrow against future contributions to their health savings accounts in the event of a costly but not catastrophic illness or accident. The author acknowledges that transitioning into a system that makes each individual a purchaser of his or her own health care might take a couple of generations, but he provides some guidelines for easing into it gradually. Highly readable presentation of one businessman's solution, likely to provoke discussion if not agreement.