“There’s definitely going to be changes in the health care delivery system. We can’t just continue to squeeze providers to say this is how we are going to save money. It’s forcing health care providers … into some very different actions that in most people’s opinion is unhealthy … At some point or another we have to be responsible or have a part of the responsibility of what is going on. Way too often, people pull out their insurance card.”
These words were spoken by U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican from Zeeland, Michigan. He went to give an example of what he appears to believe is “taking responsibility” for his family’s health care costs:
“I don’t know the difference or cost between an X-Ray or an MRI or CT Scan. I might make a little different decision if I did know (what) some of those costs were and those costs came back to me.”
The father of five offered a personal example of how this shift might play out. He says his youngest son fell and injured his arm. Not sure if it was sprained or broken, he and his wife decided to wait until the next morning to take the 10-year-old to the doctor’s office, instead of going to the emergency room that night. The arm was broken.
“We took every precaution but decided to go in the next morning (because of) the cost difference,” Huizenga said. “If he had been more seriously injured, we would have taken him in. … When it (comes to) those type of things, do you keep your child home from school and take him the next morning to the doctor because of a cold or a flu, versus take him into the emergency room? If you don’t have a cost difference, you’ll make different decisions.“
If, like me, your first reaction to this is, “WHAT???!“, you’re not alone. Huizenga is being eviscerated in the comments section of the linked MLive article for endangering his son’s life, not to mention forcing the young boy to suffer in agony overnight so his dad didn’t have to avail himself of the taxpayer-funded health insurance his family enjoys as a U.S. Congressman. People point out that the child could have developed a life threatening blood clot or worse. Some are calling it child abuse.
And, by the way, just so we’re all clear on this, having broken arm is not even close to being in the same ballpark as having “a cold or a flu.”
The problem with our health care system is NOT that people go to the doctor too quickly or that they use their health insurance when they or one of their family members are injured or sick. It’s that insurance companies are for-profit entities with little to no incentive to hold down the cost of health care. America has some of the highest health care costs in the industrial world but we are far from #1 when it comes to health care outcomes. What we DO have is a health insurance industry that makes a whole lot of profit for its shareholders.
While the Affordable Care Act keeps insurance companies in the driver’s seat, there are at least controls in place to prevent runaway premium inflation and there’s also the simple fact that millions of Americans who didn’t have the “luxury” of health insurance that Rep. Huizenga enjoys are now covered. In fact, if it is repealed, the number of kids without coverage will increase by about 4 million.
None of this is stopping Rep. Huizenga from his crusade to repeal the ACA. But it’s disgusting and immoral that he’s using his own callous and cruel response to his son’s broken arm as an example of how people thrown off their health insurance by Republicans killing off Obamacare should respond to their own health crises. And those of their children.