Free Marketeer's Healthcare Scheme Would be Chaos

Cheryl Clark, 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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