Washington is abuzz with talk of health care reform implementation. Timelines, deadlines, funding - you name it. But it isn't just health policy wonks and journalist-types who are knee-deep in the subject. Steve Brill, the founder of American Lawyer magazine and CourtTV captured the nation's attention when he wrote TIME's March 4 cover story, "Bitter pill: Why medical bills are killing us."

Another out-of-the-health-care-limelight name made headlines around that time, David Goldhill, CEO of the Game Show Network. He never wanted to be in the spotlight. But when he experienced the death of his father from something "very preventable," he couldn't sit back any longer. Goldhill authored the book, Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father - and How We Can Fix It. Recently, EBA talked with Goldhill about why he's taking on the next great health care battle - cost and quality.

"The time is going to be now until we have a health care system that provides the great care it's capable of at a reasonable price and value and I think most people would say we're not at that point," Goldhill says.

"I don't see a prospect for getting to that point anytime soon. As long as we're spending so many resources on a system that's delivering results that are so inconsistent, this is going to be a major issue."

Goldhill explains that a major part of his concern is that health care providers see intermediaries, like Medicare and Medicaid, as their primary consumer and not the patient. He writes in his book in detail about how this is focusing on the wrong customer. He also proposes ways to "carve back the role of the intermediaries in the health care economy." He points out that higher deductible plans are a good start, and starting to make a difference.

"I can tell from my own company, it's been completely transformative to see people move to the higher deductible with savings accounts in terms of the way they think about their own health care," Goldhill says. "My suspicion is ...we're going to see a greater variety about how those plans think about deductibility even with the restrictions the Affordable Care Act is likely to try to impose on that growth."

 

Predicting the future

Goldhill thinks the future is going to look a lot different. "We don't have electronic records in health care like we do at my dry cleaners," he says referring to the long technological road ahead. In fact, he's hoping for an overhaul to something that "today doesn't even look like health insurance."

Exchanges? He's not really a fan of those either. "I think they're not a good thing in the way they're structured," Goldhill continues. "I think the subsidies will make it more likely that employers drop health insurance ... exchanges work best where they encourage variety, choice and true competition. They do the opposite the way they're designed."

As for the future, he says he's optimistic and hopes his voice makes a difference. "We haven't figured it out yet, but if we can get the incentives right we have a fairly greater chance," Goldhill says. "We have 310 million of us who all have a story, and I'm just trying to tie those little pictures into the bigger picture."

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