Is This the Best Idea in Health Care Reform?

Or is it just another distraction? Columnists are abuzz over David Goldhill's cover story in The Atlantic.

This article is from the archive of our partner .

David Goldhill is not a health care expert. He is a businessman. But Goldhill believes the American health care system killed his father. And so, in September's issue of The Atlantic, the media executive explained why the current thinking on health care reform is all wrong, and offers a radical alternative. Here's the idea:

"We will need to reduce, rather than expand, the role of insurance; focus the government's role exclusively on things that only government can do (protect the poor, cover us against true catastrophe, enforce safety standards, and ensure provider competition); overcome our addiction to Ponzi-scheme financing, hidden subsidies, manipulated prices, and undisclosed results; and rely more on ourselves, the consumers, as the ultimate guarantors of good service, reasonable prices, and sensible trade-offs between health-care spending and spending on all the other good things money can buy."

Already, some commentators say it's the best thinking on health care yet. But others say it could be an insidious way to kill the reform that's already on the table.



  • The Economist: Goldhill, and others like him, should have made their arguments when they still mattered. "At this point, all they’re doing is making it impossible to accomplish anything. And, of course, there are plenty of political actors who would prefer it that way."
  • Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress: Goldhill's article is "very good," but it's not helpful. "I think Goldhill is deploying his insights to the pretty insidious purpose of arguing against the kind of health reforms that now exist in the congress. The simple fact of the matter is that defeating the current reform effort is not going to lead to the emergence of some alternative, radically different health care reform."
  • Wigwam, Firedoglake: "Goldhill's plan is whimsical, neoliberal theorizing. He offers no existing model anywhere in the world where it is working."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.