May 15, 2015

Yes, that's what he said:

After calling for the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act during a Thursday stop at a brewery in Tempe, Ariz., Bush touted the potential of the health apps on his new Apple Watch

"On this device in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my healthcare in ways that five years ago were not even possible," Bush told his audience. "I'll have the ability, someone will, you know, because of my blood sugar, ... someone will send me a signal it'll come here, I'll get a double beep saying 'you just ate a butterscotch sundae or something like that. You went way over the top. You're a diabetic, you can't do that -- whatever, we'll be able to guide our own healthcare decisions in a way that will make us healthy. Ultimately, we have to get to a health system, away from a disease system."

Dave Weigel sees this as out-of-touch rich-guy-ism:

Which it obviously is. But it's more than that. Think about Luis Lang,who refused to obtain private insurance, then refused to obtain Obamacare, and is now going blind:

Lang, a 49-year-old resident of Fort Mill, S.C., has bleeding in his eyes and a partially detached retina caused by diabetes.

“He will lose his eyesight if he doesn’t get care. He will go blind,” said Dr. Malcolm Edwards, the Lancaster ophthalmologist who examined Lang....

Edwards said he would provide care at no cost, but Lang now requires surgery and follow-up treatment that is beyond his expertise. His Eye & Laser Center has a network of specialists who work on a sliding scale and organizations that sometimes help with donations. But Lang requires such extensive and ongoing work that there’s no way to guarantee there won’t be significant bills, Edwards said.

Hey Jeb, got any apps on that watch that can reattach a retina and do a significant amount of follow-up care?

Yes, it's diabetes that damaged Lang's eyes, and the technology Bush is talking about could conceivably help a patient monitor blood sugar effectively, either on an Apple Watch or the inevitable cheaper knockoffs. But if you don't heed its warnings, or if heeding its warnings doesn't prevent calamitous health consequences, or if something happens to you that falls outside the technology's ability to help you, you're going to need more medical care than you can get from a toy -- whoops, sorry, a highly sophisticated wearable -- on your wrist.

And while Jeb is a rich guy and Lang was merely a comfortable member of the middle class until his illness took away his ability to work, the two of them -- both Republicans -- suffer from the same problem: failure of imagination and belief that truly bad things don't happen to good (i.e., Republican) people. Jeb is talking as if this wearable tech will magically make the need for real health care go away. Lang believed that there was nothing that could happen to him healthwise that he couldn't handle out of pocket.

But good fortune runs out. Lang gets that now, maybe. Bush? Not so much.

Crossposted from No More Mister Nice Blog

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