To Fix Health Care, End Health Insurance

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2009 3:31 PM CDT
Hospitals are responsible for hundreds of thousands of accidental deaths per year, writes David Goldhill, yet we largely shrug them off.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Everybody's thinking small on health care reform, writes David Goldhill in the Atlantic. Our system is so abysmal—the headline on his lengthy piece is "How American Health Care Killed My Father"—that it needs a radical restructuring, and that should start with insurance. Let's just stop buying it, or all but. Everyone should be required to have catastrophic insurance to cover bills above, say, $50,000. For everything else, the system should be pay-as-you-go.

How could people afford it? "Well, what if I gave you $1.77 million," Goldhill asks. That's how much a 22-year-old can expect to pay in health insurance over the course of his life. Goldhill's father, by the way, died of an infection picked up in a hospital, and he makes the case that the 100,000 similar deaths per year, which we largely shrug off, stem directly from a system gone miserably off track. His father's hospital bill for 5 weeks: $636,687.75