A Uniquely American Story

By: - January 10, 2008 12:35 pm

 It’s sort of about baseball.  But it’s more about how our health system is often an embarrassment when compared to other wealthy countries.

Charlie Montoyo has been a manager in the minor leagues for 11 seasons.  He now works for the Durham Bulls.  His newborn son has a serious and very rare heart defect and is fighting for his life at UCLA medical center where they have experience in treating the problem. 

The Montoyo family apparently has medical insurance, but they were greeted with a bill of over $500,000 disputed by their insurer one day after they came home from the hospital.  Their response?

"I don't even think about it," Charlie said. "You want my house? You can have it. Just take care of my son."

The Durham Bulls announced today that they had set up a fund that is accepting donations the Bulls will match to help the Montoyo family with the enormous expenses from their son’s illness.  Other teams have raised thousands of dollars too. 

Stories like this always highlight the best and worst of America.  The best because clearly hundreds of people, whether they know Charlie Montoyo personally or not, care enough about what his family is going through to try and help them out.  The worst because in any other wealthy country, the financial costs of care wouldn’t be an issue for the Montoyo family.  Their kid would get needed medical care and the parents could focus on their family and their child without the added burden of bills and financial ruin.

And then there are people who aren’t blessed with the network of friends and supporters coming together for Charlie Montoyo.  Here’s a headline that isn’t so heartwarming:

Yard sale to help infant who needs heart surgery

We ought to cancel the 70%+ tax subsidized health coverage immediately for every member of Congress and make them hold a yard sale to cover the costs every time one of them had to have surgery.  You can bet every American would be able to buy a comprehensive and affordable health plan in a hurry after that little legislative change. 

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