Medical procedures priced in Iphones, for the benefit of noted dumbass Jason Chaffetz

Yesterday, Rep Jason Chaffetz [R-UT; DC office: (202) 225-7751; Utah office: (801) 851-2500; email; Twitter] defended his plan to take away the health insurance of 22,000,000 Americans by saying "rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care."

It's a great talking point for reaching a base that already views poverty as a moral failing, but it fails to pass even the most glancing contact with reality. On Lifehacker, Beth Skwarecki prices out a variety of basic healthcare services in Iphone increments: having a baby in San Francisco will cost you 34 Iphones, and twisting your knee in New York will cost you 24 Iphones.

For the record, Rep Chaffetz got a free Iphone courtesy of his campaign donors, who also pay his monthly bills.

Update: Here's a bot that tweets health care procedures priced in Iphones.

If you twist your knee in New York City and need an ACL repair surgery (as I did a few years ago), Health Care Blue Book says that a “fair” charge is 24 iPhones. ,p> If you decide to have a baby—or if you don’t have that choice thanks in part to the bill’s defunding Planned Parenthood—pushing it out will cost you an average of 12 iPhones. This varies by location, of course, with some San Francisco hospitals charging 38 iPhones. Oh, and this isn’t counting prenatal care, anesthesia, c-sections, or complications that you or the baby might develop.

If, instead, you choose to have cancer, chemotherapy is also going to set you back quite a few iPhones. We’re looking at 113 to 218 iPhones for a typical course of breast cancer chemo, not counting other care or procedures you might end up needing. Or, to put it in simpler terms, a stack of iPhones two-and-a-half to five feet tall.

Here’s How Many iPhones You’ll Need to Not Buy in Order to Afford Health Care [Beth Skwarecki/Lifehacker]

Notable Replies

  1. Don't say that. Other than Trump, everyone knows that healthcare is complicated.

    1. Preventative medicine
      • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It costs far less to take care of cancer when it's caught early, or to deal with a cleanly broken bone rather than a badly-healed one, or to provide free immunizations as opposed to dealing with outbreaks.
        I injured my ankle about two years ago. I went to a walk-in clinic, got an order for an x-ray, got the x-ray done, and got the results back telling me it was a sprain and would heal on its own. Total cost to me: $20 for a tensor and Voltaren. The doctor's visit, X-ray, and prescription were all covered by my tax-provided OHIP (the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, or more generically, Medicare). Because I didn't have to pay for the doctor, I can go for the little things and have them taken care of while they're still little things.
    2. A vastly simplified billing system.
      • If I go to an Ontario hospital and I'm an Ontario resident (like most people in Ontario hospitals), the majority of my care will be billed to OHIP. If I want a private room, then that will be an extra bill, but the vast majority of the billing is done to the provincial Medicare plans, which makes it really easy to standardize the forms.
    3. Government-set rates
      • In the U.S., doctors work at the rate the market can sustain, which is based on what the hospitals are willing to pay, which is based on what the insurance companies are willing to pay, which is based on what consumers can afford to pay. So, it's in everybody's interest (except for the consumer) to make those fees as high as possible.
      • In Canada, the rate that a hospital charges for a procedure is set by the province, which limits the amount that hospitals get paid, which limits the amount that doctors get paid. It means that doctors get paid substantially less in Canada than they do in the U.S. (and insurance and hospital corporations are much less profitable). Yes, some doctors get their M.D. and then go across the border to the U.S. to get paid more, but enough stay to make the system work.
  2. Have you watched that John Green video I posted? I learned a lot from it! Not least of which is that Americans already pay more than us in taxes for health care that they don't get. We pay like 7% or less of our GDP for health care we all can access. They pay more than 11% for health care very few can access. Its nuts!!

    Our system aint perfect by any means and we can do a lot to improve it. I look to the Scandinavians for a model of how health care work.

    But I literally won't go to the US without travel health insurance.

  3. I am a proud Canadian taxpayer, net contributor to the system. Were my parents American, I would not have been fucking born, because no insurance company would have covered my mother due to pre-existing conditions and the birth of my older sister would have wiped them out. I struggle all the time to understand how people in the US have gone along with this system for so long.

    And don't get me started with that Trick Pony that Republicans trot out all the time with some Brad or Suzie Middleclass who paid for a procedure in the US because the wait list up here was too long. That rant is an epic one because it is a trick.

  4. Healthcare alone was enough to remove America from the list of acceptable countries when I was considering overseas academic positions.

  5. But you can purchase better health care in Canada. It's not restricted. My workplace pays for physiotherapy, and dentistry, and prescription drugs, and all sorts of things that Medicare doesn't pay for. Medicare isn't restricting the ability for people to pay for better health care; it's just paying for the baseline care that keeps everyone reasonably healthy.

    A similar initiative, to ensure that everyone has at least the baseline level of housing, is not particularly considered to be outrageous.

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