The question all American voters should be asking is; why are not all Americans provided with the same healthcare insurance that the politicians who represent them have?
If John McCain were uninsured, his surgery could have cost $76,000 - Vox
That’s more than the average annual American household income.
The fate of the GOP’s health reform plan right now hinges on Sen. John McCain’s recovery from a blood clot surgery. The health scare is also the perfect reminder of just how critical insurance can be — and how much protection from medical emergencies Americans stand to lose with the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate Republicans’ plan to dismantle Obamacare.
According to a press release from McCain’s office, the senator had a craniotomy to remove a blood clot from above his left eye on Friday, July 14, at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s now “recovering comfortably at home.”
This weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he’d delay the vote on the contentious Better Care Act until the Arizona Republican had returned to the Hill and could vote to start debate on the bill. (McConnell needs all the supportive votes he can get.)
There are at least four deeply ironic things about McCain’s health situation:
1) As Vox’s Dylan Scott explained, nothing less than a health emergency has thrown the GOP’s health reform plan into disarray.
2) The senator’s office is saying the blood clot was discovered during a routine physical, which is exactly the type of preventive service Obamacare expanded and the Better Care Act could curtail.
3) The craniotomy sounds like an emergency surgery (though McCain’s office would not confirm that). Obamacare required insurance plans sold in the individual market, the fully insured small-group market, and through Medicaid to cover a list of 10 “essential health benefits”, including emergency healthcare. The Better Care Act would allow health insurers to once again sell skimpier insurance plans that might not include such comprehensive benefits.
4) Life-saving surgeries like these would also be out of reach for more people if the GOP plan were to pass, since it’s expected to leave millions more Americans without insurance compared to Obamacare.
To find out just how much the procedure would cost someone without insurance, we looked to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which publishes Medicare payments for more than 3,000 hospitals for inpatient procedures. We decided to go with the Medicare rate, since this is often used as a benchmark by experts for the cost of a procedure and it’s what the government considers reasonable to pay for a service.*
At the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix (line 1598 of this spreadsheet), the most recent data (2014) suggests the average charge to Medicare for a craniotomy was $76,119, while average Medicare payments ranged from $25,932 to $33,958.