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Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--And How We Can Fix Itby David Goldhill
Synopses & Reviews
A visionary investigation that will change the way we think about health care: how and why it is failing, why expanding coverage will actually make things worse, and how our health care can be transformed into a transparent, affordable, successful system.
In 2007, David Goldhill’s father died from infections acquired in a hospital, one of more than two hundred thousand avoidable deaths per year caused by medical error. The bill was enormous—and Medicare paid it. These circumstances left Goldhill angry and determined to understand how world-class technology and personnel could coexist with such carelessness—and how a business that failed so miserably could be paid in full. Catastrophic Care is the eye-opening result.
Blending personal anecdotes and extensive research, Goldhill presents us with cogent, biting analysis that challenges the basic preconceptions that have shaped our thinking for decades. Contrasting the Island of health care with the Mainland of our economy, he demonstrates that high costs, excess medicine, terrible service, and medical error are the inevitable consequences of our insurance-based system. He explains why policy efforts to fix these problems have invariably produced perverse results, and how the new Affordable Care Act is more likely to deepen than to solve these issues.
Goldhill steps outside the incremental and wonkish debates to question the conventional wisdom blinding us to more fundamental issues. He proposes a comprehensive new way, where the customer (the patient) is first—a system focused on health and maintaining it, a system strong and vibrant enough for our future.
If you think health care is interesting only to institutes and politicians, think again: Catastrophic Care is surprising, engaging, and brimming with insights born of questions nobody has thought to ask. Above all it is a book of new ideas that can transform the way we understand a subject we often take for granted.
"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 exposÃ© 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.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A visionary and completely original investigation that will change the way we think about health care: how and why it is failing, why expanding insurance coverage will only make things worse, and how it can be transformed into a transparent, affordable, successful system.
In 2007, David Goldhill's father died from a series of infections acquired in a well-regarded New York hospital. The bill was for several hundred thousand dollars--and Medicare paid it. These circumstances left Goldhill angry and determined to understand how it was possible that world-class technology and well-trained personnel could result in such simple, inexcusable carelessness--and how a business that failed so miserably could be rewarded with full payment. Catastrophic Care is the eye-opening result. Goldhill explicates a health-care system that now costs nearly $2.5 trillion annually, bars many from treatment, provides inconsistent quality of care, offers negligible customer service, and in which an estimated 200,000 Americans die each year from errors. Above all, he exposes the fundamental fallacy of our entire system--that Medicare and insurance coverage make care cheaper and improve our health--and suggests a comprehensive new approach that could produce better results at more acceptable costs immediately by giving us, the patients, a real role in the process.
About the Author
DAVID GOLDHILL is a media executive. His article on health care for The Atlantic was the cover story for the September 2009 issue.
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