Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan recently boasted about not taking his 10-year-old son to the emergency room when the boy had a broken arm (video below).
Huizenga told the story to MLive.com to illustrate his support for making Americans pay more for their health care by increasing insurance deductibles:
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, whether they're doctors, hospitals, nurses, you name it, into some very different actions that in most people's opinion is unhealthy.
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Huizenga didn't name the "unhealthy" actions that medical providers are supposedly being forced to perform, but he did lay some blame on patients who don't know the exact prices of procedures, which are not publicly listed by facilities or providers:
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 and it's like: "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.
Huizenga then called on people to put money into HSAs, which he claimed would keep costs down. However, medical prices are not determined by the money that people save in HSAs.
Huizenga recalled how he and his wife did not take their son to the emergency room after the boy suffered a fall. Huizenga said he thought his son had a sprain, but he and his wife didn't know for sure. He put the boy's arm in a splint and did not to take him to the emergency room because of the financial cost:
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We took every precaution, and decided to go in the next morning [because of] the cost difference. If he had been more seriously injured, we would have taken him in. That doesn't become part of the question.
When it's 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.
The Mayo Clinic advises medical care as soon as possible in cases of a suspected a broken bone for adults and kids:
If you think you or your child has broken an arm, seek prompt medical attention. It's important to treat a fracture as soon as possible for proper healing.
Treatment depends on the site and severity of the injury. A simple break may be treated with a sling, ice and rest. However, the bone may require realignment (reduction) in the emergency room.
A more complicated break might require surgery to realign the broken bone and to implant wires, plates, nails or screws to maintain proper alignment during healing.
Huizenga, who called for financial costs to determine health care, slammed Planned Parenthood in January for being "an organization that puts its financial interests ahead of women and children."