Analysis of How American Healthcare Killed My Father
David Goldhill, author of “How American Healthcare Killed My Father” describes himself as a businessman with no more expertise or connection with the United States healthcare system than any other patient with ordinary encounters. This is until his father entered a non-profit hospital in New York City with pneumonia. The end result of this hospital visit, which is not entirely uncommon for an elderly person, is an unexpected death and a son’s personal exploration of why it happened and what could be done to prevent this incident in the future.
According to the Goldhill, his father entered the hospital and acquired sepsis within thirty-six hours of admission. Over the course of the next five weeks, which were spent in the hospital’s intensive care unit, the infections acquired were more than the his father could fght and quickly led to his inexcusable demise.
Shortly after his father’s death, Goldhill ran across an article in The New Yorker profiling the efforts of a Dr.
Peter Pronovost in reducing the incident rate of hospital acquired infections similar to his father’s. These efforts included implementing a basic checklist of standard ICU sterilization protocols including physician hand washing. While the solution seemed simple enough, and certainly inexpensive, the article noted that many physicians and hospitals were much less than receptive to the idea in spite of the potential to reduce infections rates by up to two-thirds.
Physicians viewed the move as belittling and intrusive, and because of this, hospitals were not willing to embrace the idea.
Over the course of the following year, the unsettling information in the article and the grief rom his father’s loss pushed David Goldhill to deeply explore the root of the many problems in our healthcare system that affect ordinary patients every day. With what he found, he comes to a general consensus of how to go about repairing the current system by doing away with it completely.
He, like many others, desires a move toa “consumer-driven” system similar to that of almost every other market with freedom of information and consumers in control of costs. In my opinion, the most effective and immediate means to implement his plan is through the use of Health Savings Accounts for individuals. With insurance in place to finance what it is truly intended for, catastrophic risk, he suggests that most all routine or non-catastrophic care be funded fully by the individual through the use of HSA’s.
These HSA’s would be funded by mandatory contribution of a percentage of one’s income at regular intervals.
This percentage would also increase with age as wages and total wealth increase and the consumer would be free to withdraw funds for any reason with no penalties as long as a minimum balance is maintained. This system provides forced savings, and thereby available funds, for consumers working within standard market forces to use for payment of healthcare costs.
This system also has the benefit of allowing American healthcare consumers the choice they desire in what provider to use and, within limits, how much or how little care to get. In reality, forced savings is the role that has been taken on by Medicare and private insurance, however, without consumer forces and with the effect of moral hazard, much less effectively. The