Knopf Doubleday

Catastrophic Care by David Goldhill

January 8th, 2013

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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: How American Health Care Killed My Father–and How We Can Fix It 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.

Read David Goldhill’s 2009 article, “How Health Care Killed My Father,” from The Atlantic

David Goldhill is president and chief executive officer of GSN, which operates a U.S. cable television network seen in more than 75 million homes and is one of the world’s largest digital games companies. He is a member of the board of directors of The Leapfrog Group, an employer-sponsored organization dedicated to hospital safety and transparency. Goldhill graduated from Harvard University with a BA in history and holds an MA in history from New York University.

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