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  • In the Green Room: David Goldhill on How American Health Care Killed His Father


    David Goldhill is President and CEO of the Game Show Network and has run numerous businesses during his career. When his father died of  a hospital-borne infection two years ago he began researching the entire U.S. health care system, analyzing it with the keen eye of a businessman. What he learned is that intermediaries like insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid distort a system that is supposed to provide health care to individuals into one that serves faceless and, largely, uncaring bureaucracies. Case in point: 100,000 people die every year in America of infections received in hospitals. 100, 000 people. Why?

    “This hospital saw someone other than my father as their customer,” said Goldhill at a Cato institute event in the Rayburn House office building last week.  ”The role we’ve let intermediaries…play in our health care is not just about money, it’s also about who the providers really report to, what customer they’re really servicing.”

    Goldhill’s advice is to put the consumers of health care – individuals, not government and/or intermediaries – in the driver’s seat. Consumers of products in other industries (cell phones, TVs, cars, etc.) demand things like accountability, low prices and high quality. They can do this because there are other companies that make better or safer cars or TVs at a lower price, thereby forcing companies to compete for customers. Why should we treat health care any differently?

    The closing paragraph of Mr. Goldhill’s outstanding Atlantic piece explains why programs like Medicare, the largest spender of health care dollars in the U.S., should not be the most important customer in our health care system:

    Before we further remove ourselves as direct consumers of health care—with all of our beneficial influence on quality, service, and price—let me ask you to consider one more question. Imagine my father’s hospital had to present the bill for his ‘care’ not to a government bureaucracy, but to my grieving mother. Do you really believe that the hospital—forced to face the victim of its poor-quality service, forced to collect the bill from the real customer—wouldn’t have figured out how to make its doctors wash their hands?

    The full video of Mr. Goldhill’s speech is below:

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to In the Green Room: David Goldhill on How American Health Care Killed His Father

    1. Leigh, Chattanooga says:

      This could have been titled "How the Canadian Health Care System killed my mother and my best friend..and my uncle..and my aunts..and my grandmother…". Mr. Goldhill and others who are speaking out are absolutely right. I have also worked in the health care field with seniors and the disabled. I have witnessed just how decimating, devious and uncompassionate so-called 'health professionals' can be within a bureaucracy. Nobody listens or cares when we scream. It was so painful and devastating to watch my loved ones die because of incompetence and forced euthanasia where once there was competence and high standards; to watch my nation and my people morph into automatons of the State.

    2. Bobbie Jay says:

      GOVERNMENT HIRES PEOPLE who go through the motions but aren't necessarily willed to do the job at the highest of standards this country once LIVED by in the medical field. They're not held accountable to anything but collecting their taxpayer paid paychecks.

      I've also witnessed their ethics of no human compassion. And also, NEGLECT OF DUTY CAUSING POTENTIAL DEATH!!!

      Making the stay more difficult then it's worth. And it's worth is less then free.

    3. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      Back in the late '70's it became more important that a patient not overstay their time in the hospital, a time was assigned to a diagnosis, if a secondary infection or some complication arose it was hell to get it approved by the Ins. Co. Now these Insurance people that approve or disapprove are NOT doctors or medical people. The main reason I went to private duty was due to paper work, not charting, that was required. On one shift I had 8 pts. 2 were serious and 4 were either new admits or waiting to be discharged. This is twice the pt.load one should have and I must say I could only briefly meet 4, 2 required a lot of care, the other 2 got some but not what I wanted to give, I felt remorse after my shift that i did not get to spend the time with my pts. as I needed to complete paper work. Ins. cos. are not helping, rather worried about HOW MUCH THEY CAN MAKE> We need to get back to patients first, doctors are leaving for this reason, a cousin who was a heart surgeon left his practice for this reason, his hands were tied by all the RULES.

    4. Angel, Ohio says:

      No one cares for our loved ones like us. I watched my father receive care on an as demanded basis. If we did not demand or ask we did not get. So many people will need to hire people above and beyond any government option provided to get the level of care that we expect. This is not right but it is how the system works. People without family close by to watch out for them are just neglected.

      If you think it is bad now just wait until the government is in charge of all of our care.

    5. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Yes, people do contract infections while hospital confined and some do die of these infections. However, it is too simplistic to say that hospitals and doctors don't care. It is deplorable that some health care providers do provide the proper care for a patient. These individuals, if proven guilty of poor care or malpractice should not just be sued, but stripped of their licenses to practice. I believe, however, that the majority of health care providers do care a great deal about their patients.

      Pneumonia is one of the most common forms of infection to occur among patients who are hospitalized as a result of inpatient surgery. Hospitalized patients are in a weakened state possibly from the illness or injury that required their confinement and/or possibly from the surgery itself. When a patients resistence is low, they are prime candidates for infection. This is especially true of the elderly and of chronically ill patients. Think of the number of non-patients there are in a hospital on any given day, doctors and nurses to be sure, but what about the visitors? Family members and friends who come to visit hospitalized patients often come into close proximity to confined patients, bringing with them any number of germs.

      Doctors want to get post-surgical patients on their feet as soon as posssible following surgery to prevent fluids from building up in the lungs, precisely because such patients are susceptable to infection, which can easily turn into pneumonia. Hospitals are eager to keep their facilities sanitized and germ free to the greatest extent possible.

      Yes, both doctors, nurses and hospital facilities can do better in keeping themselves sanitary and maintaining a grem-free environment. But I don't believe it's fair to saythese professionals don't care.

      Many patients are

    6. John, Colorado says:

      His dad's infection could have been cured using intravenous or even oral doses of Vitamin C. It cures the flu, too. A doctor would rather you die than use it.

      My dad was killed by a hospital bureaucracy, by a blood clot six days after emergency back surgery, and about 20 minutes after getting back from a die injection. He was supposed to be brought back flat on his back on a gurney, but was mistakenly brought back upright sitting in a wheelchair.

      When my sister dragged a nurse in to get one to look at Dad, and the nurse recognized the problem, she called a nurse at the desk to call code blue. That nurse said she was busy. A scream the second time got her calling.

      Dad was worth $54,000 to the hospital for the harvesting and handling of the tissues they were able to harvest in spite of the blood clots and radioactive dye. The bill for just the hospital was $11,000. He was an iatrogenic casualty at the least.

      A single security guard with no relatives, I once met where my cousin works, disappeared after going to the same hospital for a hernia surgery. Six weeks later his place of employment got a notice of his death. I would not be surprised if that poor guy signed the organ donor card, or that it even made a difference if he did.

    7. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      In the sixties the AMA attacked what they perceived as competition, health food stores, chiropractors, holistic medicine, Scientology, other practices who claimed to heal something. I think the AMA was taken over by the same plutocrats who took over the Democratic Party. I've seen them use government agencies, IRS, essentially every imaginable thing was done to eliminate competition in medicine. It has become unthinkable to withdraw from using doctors, and illegal. Soon we will all have to pay for the excesses of Medicine, it is hysteria. The doctors aren't the big winners, it is the Plutocrats. And what? They want half of the Nation's income in the near future for a product increasingly poor while the media are all agog about how good American Medicine is.

      American Medicine is not so good, not so available and not so effective as we think. It now costs ten times as much for half the result. I think statistics have been used to baffle us. I think the new diseases are actually word games, like Obama waffling on about what is a tax. Normal human aging is a disease nowadays, so it is a free for all for the plutocrats. It has nothing to do with health.

    8. Dan, Minnesota says:

      My wife passed away a year ago from a rare type of cancer called inflamatory breast cancer. We had the best insurance that paid practically everything. Even with this insurance and the ability to pay ourselves it was amazing how much research I had to do and the egos I had to battle to get her proper care. But I was really floored when I got an email from the American Cancer Society wanting my horror stories with my insurance so they could use it to promote Obamacare. I asked them why would you support something that would ration care and most likely give less to the terminal or who they deemed terminal. They didn't have an answer.

    9. Rayford Davenport says:

      While I am truly sorry to see anyones demise,the same treatment brought my brother back from stage four cancer.

    10. Pingback: In the Green Room: David Goldhill on How American Health Care Killed His Father | Conservative Principles Now

    11. Pingback: Link Dump--from yesterday's web browsing - Medary.com

    12. Alex, New Zealand says:

      Anyone interested in this whole area of hospital acquired infections should go and have a look a company called Medizone International – http://www.medizoneint.com . These guys seem to be getting close to a solution using ozone based technology to address the sterilisation issue hospitals face. They are achieving Log 5 plus reductions on the main types of infections found in hospital environments. The stats talking about 100,000 deaths attributable to HAI are a disgrace. It is also a disgrace that a company like Medizone struggles to get funding assistance.

    13. James Conroy, MD, Sigourney, IA says:

      The sad loss of Mr. Goldhill’s father is symptomatic of how naive is the American public regarding what really transpires within hospitals. In retrospect, David might have more safely kept his father home with antibiotics, and oxygen or even mask ventilation support at night, should it be needed. Home health nurses and respiratory therapy could have provided hospital equivalent services up to the level of the intensive care unit.

      The hospital environment has always, and will continue to be, a very toxic and risk laden environment especially for the very young and very old patient. The dictum, “The longer you stay in the hospital, the greater the chance of you not leaving alive” remains today as true as it was 100 years ago.

      We Americans often think of “medical services” (I wont dignify what our US system serves up as real “health care”) as a means to postpone death, the threat of which horrifies many patients (excluding those seeking narcotics) presenting during the night to the emergency rooms.

      The sad reality is that we physicians can do very little to postpone death for especially the frail elderly. What is tragic is that our nation is spending our grandchildren’s money chasing this folly. They will have to foot the bill when the Medicare Trust fund dries up, spent by us baby boomers who will demand everything. //

    14. Pingback: Who’s Blogging about Cato | Think Tank West

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