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Mar 11 2014

Jindal’s Fantasies of the Health Care Past

Bobby Jindal was invited to address CPAC, nearly doubling the number of non-white people in attendance, and he gave one of those classic conservative stump speeches about the good old days and how life would be so much better if we just went back to the days when people got healthcare for a handshake.

In a mid-day address to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal fondly recalled how his own birth was paid for in a pre-Obamacare era.

“My dad shook hands with the doctor,” said Jindal. “And he said to that doctor, ‘I’m going to pay you in full. I’m going to pay you every month as much as I can’… And that’s exactly what they did.” Jindal added, “No contracts. No paperwork. No government program. Just two guys in a hospital in Baton Rouge, shaking hands.” The crowd applauded, and then Jindal joked that he’d asked his dad “if you could pay for a baby on layaway today. I’m sure how that would work – you skip a payment, they repossess the baby?”

Uh, yeah. Like the Senate candidate in Nevada back in 2010 running against Harry Reid who said that people could just trade chickens to their doctors for health care. It must be wonderful to live in this fantasy world that so many conservatives inhabit, where unicorns fart rainbows and everyone sings hymns to Ronald Reagan.

36 comments

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  1. 1
    colnago80

    Bobby Jindal, biology major graduate of Brown, Un. who is an evolution denier.

  2. 2
    beezlebubby

    Let’s compare that to my mother’s pre-ACA open heart surgery. When the billing office presented her with a whopping figure, my mother asked about a payment plan. The hospital, she was told, simply didn’t have the manpower to administer payment plans, so they immediately forwarded her account to a collection agency, who promptly tacked on an additional 28% “administration fee” to the bill. So fuck Bobby Jindal and his bullshit handshake story. It was likely a lie, and even if true when he was born, it certainly isn’t true now.

  3. 3
    somnus

    I’m not sure who he thought he was taking a dig at with the “repossess the baby,” comment. But given that the only people you’d be missing a payment to would be either the hospital or the insurance company (I.e. Private enterprises), then it sure as hell wasn’t the gubmint.

  4. 4
    Larry

    Great idea, Bobby. How ’bouts I offer to pay my taxes later. We’ll shake on it, m’kay?

  5. 5
    raven

    “My dad shook hands with the doctor,” …

    As beezlebuddy already noted in comment 2, this is probably a lie.

    Most of the conservative circulating email type stories are.

    There have been many Obamacare horrro stories in the rightwing media, Fox, WSJ, etc.. When people try to confirm them they all turn out to be more or less false. Conservatives are fundie xians mostly. They don’t do data or reality they do myths.

    In the real good old days before modern medicine, a century ago, people died at an average age of 47, 30 years less than today.

  6. 6
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I haven’t heard this heartwarming a story since the one where Atticus Finch accepted assorted agricultural produce in payment of Walter Cunningham’s legal bills.

  7. 7
    raven

    Does anyone live in or near Louisiana?

    From my distant viewpoint of the Pacific coast, it doesn’t look like he has done anything good for the state.

    1. The school voucher program looked and looks like a good way to destroy public education. That is going to echo down through the next decades as not well educated people try to cope with a Hi Tech society.

    2. Louisiana usually rates near the bottom on any metrics of social well being. That hasn’t changed either.

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    “My dad shook hands with the doctor,” …
    …who went on to perform the surgery without wearing gloves.

  9. 9
    dingojack

    A few years ago my dad had a hip replacement, it improved his mobility enormously and helped his general health overall (not to mention his mental health).
    The parts, labour, overnight hospital care, community care and consults with specialists etc. cost (I think) around $2,800 all up. The same in America would probably cost a few tens of thousands of dollars.
    I’ll take universal healthcare Mr Jindal, you can stick you’re KKK-Mason handshake up your arse – sideways.
    Dingo

  10. 10
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    I don’t care how little Bobby Jindal’s daddy paid–he got a bad deal.

  11. 11
    raven

    Louisiana ranks 48 in average life expectancy by state.

    No surprise. The bottom 10 are all in the south. These are also the states that refused to extend Medicaid.

  12. 12
    matty1

    everyone sings hymns to Ronald Reagan.

    “If I had a hammer” comes to mind.

  13. 13
    raven

    The parts, labour, overnight hospital care, community care and consults with specialists etc. cost (I think) around $2,800 all up.

    A relative just had a complicated but routine spinal operation. The bill so far is $250,000 and going up.

    Fortunately, it was a work related injury and covered by workmen’s comp. and insurance.

  14. 14
    Mr Ed

    I know that in Georgia there is one county that has lost eight hospitals using this economic model of I’ll gladly pay you Thursday for a bypass on Monday. But hey, it isn’t Obamacare.

  15. 15
    Chiroptera

    Jindal added, “No contracts. No paperwork…. Just two guys in a hospital in Baton Rouge, shaking hands.”

    You mean like the government run single payer systems that most civilized countries have?

    …No government program….

    Whoops, I guess he doesn’t mean that.

  16. 16
    arakasi

    Did the elder Jindal then shake hands with the hospital administration for the overhead costs and the nursing staff? I’m sure the nurses would have been willing to wait for their paycheck until Mr. Jindal managed to earn enough to pay them. Then, of course, all the vendors who provided the drugs used and the other consumables would be paitient until Mr. Jindal could manage to pay them. And it’s a good thing that little Bobby didn’t need the NICU, or there would be another dozen highly skilled professionals providing round the clock care. I think that Mr. Jindal’s arm would get pretty tired from all the handshaking going on.

    I’m not so bothered by the fact that they lie to us. I am more upset that they lie so blatantly – it’s pretty insulting that they don’t put forth the effort to come up with a convincing falsehood.

  17. 17
    Synfandel

    @9 dingojack wrote:

    The parts, labour, overnight hospital care, community care and consults with specialists etc. cost (I think) around $2,800 all up. The same in America would probably cost a few tens of thousands of dollars.

    Every analysis I’ve seen over the years (sorry, I don’t have any references handy) has shown that a publicly administered single payer health insurance system is vastly more cost-effective than the free-market, wild-west, survival-of-the-richest system endured by Americans. From personal experience, I can also say that it’s fairer—the quality of your care doesn’t depend on the size of your investment portfolio—and provides much greater peace of mind. As an added bonus, it makes for a generally healthier population, because people don’t hesitate to get the help they need for fear of personal bankruptcy.

  18. 18
    eric

    “My dad shook hands with the doctor,” said Jindal. “And he said to that doctor, ‘I’m going to pay you in full. I’m going to pay you every month as much as I can’… And that’s exactly what they did.”

    So, he paid 1950s prices for 1950′s medicine. Tell you what, we can start a new plan, call it the Jindal plan, which will deliver exactly this level of service on exactly this type of pricing scheme. All the consevatives who want 1950s medicine for a handshake deal are welcome to take it.

  19. 19
    Modusoperandi

    Yup, things were better back in the day. Back then you could pay private hospitals, private doctors and private collection agencies whatever whenever. Not like now, when you have to pay the government every month for so-called “insurance” (even if you aren’t sick!) and have to pay limited co-pays and visits whenever you visit the doctor or buy drugs!

  20. 20
    dingojack

    Shorter Jindal – ‘Even the nostalgia was better in the old days’
    Dingo

  21. 21
    Michael Heath

    So when will Mr. Jindal submit legislation legalizing patients acting as dead-beats who don’t pay their bills, where healthcare providers have little recourse but accept whatever and whenever a patient chooses to pay? [Rhetorical Q. alert]

    Once again we observe a conservative Christian advocating contradictory positions, something their religion demands they do to maintain their beliefs.

  22. 22
    Ellie

    @2 I know that is true in some States, for example: North Carolina, where a friend recently lost her house due to medical bills. However, in NY, at least in the part of the state where I live, payment plans are certainly accepted. I know that from personal experience, having to go on one after a 4 day hospital stay. Even with fairly good insurance, it was more bill than I could pay all at once. It took me two years, but I paid it off. That doesn’t mean Jindal is telling the truth, nor do I wish to go back to those “good old days.” Just pointing out that the hospital bill thing varies hugely from State to State. It shouldn’t, but it does.

  23. 23
    snoeman

    Synfandel:

    …a publicly administered single payer health insurance system is vastly more cost-effective than the free-market, wild-west, survival-of-the-richest system endured by Americans.

    I agree, except that the American health-care isn’t really a free market. Free markets generally have transparency on pricing and shit like that.

  24. 24
    LightningRose

    Jindal was born in 1971.

    I don’t believe a fucking word of his story.

  25. 25
    raven

    The medical care system/hospitals also frequently vastly overcharge the uninsured.

    It can be as much as 4 times what the insurance companies will pay.

    It makes perfect sense. Overcharge those least likely to be able to pay the bills.

    This is illegal in a few states, but not many.

  26. 26
    D. C. Sessions

    Bobby Jindal, biology major graduate of Brown, Un. who is an evolution denier.

    He came to understand the fundamental fallacy of evolution after it was explained to him by voters during his first election for public office.

  27. 27
    D. C. Sessions

    Louisiana usually rates near the bottom on any metrics of social well being. That hasn’t changed either.

    But they have what really matters: freedom. Most of all, they can use their guns to worship Jesus.

  28. 28
    dingojack

    D. C. Sessions – except when Cleetus worships shoots Billy-Bob through the foot, then Billy-Bob is just plain shit outta luck (he’ll never be able to pay for treatment even if he manages to pay half his minimum wage* till he dies at 64**).
    Dingo
    ——–
    * Or what they call ‘a well-paid job’
    ** Or what they extreme old-age

  29. 29
    naturalcynic

    Since Jindal was born in ’71 in Louisiana, his father still may have paid 1950′s costs for 1950′s medical care

  30. 30
    busterggi

    Republicans all seem to have been brought up in Hooterville – I guess they’re still amazed that a person can flip a switch and get a lamp to light.

  31. 31
    Area Man

    I really don’t get what he’s trying to say here. Is he attacking the modern medical industry for sending people ginormous bills, unleashing collection agencies, and causing ruined credit and bankruptcies when people can’t pay? Because last I checked, that terrible and unfair system is what his party is fighting to preserve.

  32. 32
    billdaniels

    If the Republicans ever get control of health care I am investing in leeches.

  33. 33
    D. C. Sessions

    If the Republicans ever get control of health care I am investing in leeches.

    Huh? The leeches have been getting a big slice of health care money for quite a while, although you’re probably right that the Republicans will want some of it if they get control.

  34. 34
    freehand

    So when cousin Billy Bob shakes hands and agrees to accept payments when you can make them, in exchange for which he builds you that back porch, it doesn’t occur to these folks that this is why Billy Bob is not the CEO of a multinational corporation? These low information voters really believe that they lose everything to the insurance companies and hospitals because of Democratic Party government policies.*
    .
    They had to think when they went to school as kids, gawdmmit, they’re adults now. They don’t have to think anymore! You can’t boss them around, you tricksy liberals.
    .
    * Take money from hard working Americans and give it to inner city lazy folks.

  35. 35
    sceptinurse

    Actually my first child was born before insurance had to cover childbirth. Before I left the office after my first visit I had to sign a payment plan contract. This was 77-78 so a little later than this anecdote but there was definitely no handshake and “I’ll pay you” crap. I walked out of that office with an addition to my monthly budget.

  36. 36
    jesse

    I’m sure Jindal is telling the truth — because when you are 10 years old that is exactly what you see. I saw the same kind of thing. But that doesn’t mean it was true. I saw my dad shake hands on loads of deals for services, and if you asked me when I was in grade school I am sure I would have recounted the same thing.

    Bobby Jindal is recounting a child’s view, one that omits all the behind-the-scenes stuff we learn about after the age of 12.

    Republicans often wax lyrical about the Norman Rockwell images of small-town life. The reason is the same one that’s been floating around since the 1920s: those people live in cities and depend on institutions that aren’t family or directly related to you (by knowing people). Those people are different. Back then it was that they were Catholic or Jewish. Now it’s the elevated melanin levels and speaking strange and exotic tongues like Spanish.

    And Jindal being a PoC doesn’t alter the fact that he bought all that. He doesn’t get that being “honorary white” is still just honorary.

    It’s a fundamentally racist ideal. And it’s also no accident that it dates to the 1920s. Because between 1900 and 1920 was when the country became majority urban. It still is — only a small percentage of Americans live in rural areas anymore, even if you are generous about the definition and include exurbs. (Suburbs, by the way, tend to have very city-like institutions however far they sprawl).

    Once that shift happened, it was clear that if we were going to be in a democratic society those people were going to have a lot more say.

    (I might add, it’s also no accident to me that the Klan reached the height of its power around that time).

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