State Representative to Legislature: hospitals can be dangerous

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's health care debate took an unexpected turn at the State Capitol, where a lawmaker who is also a doctor argued that access to health care can be a bad thing.

Representative Mike Kennedy, a Republican from Alpine, made the comments in a Health Reform Task Force meeting, in reaction to a story from another doctor.

Doctor Kyle Jones told the legislature's Health Reform Task Force about a neighbor who was in a car crash. That neighbor suffered a rare response to pain medicine called toxic encephalopathy. The condition has caused memory loss, seizures and depression, according to Jones.

"Sometimes access actually can mean harm," said Representative Mike Kennedy, a family physician.

The Republican from Alpine repeated the argument more than once: "Sometimes access to health care can be damaging and dangerous. And it's a perspective for the [Legislative] body to consider is that, I've heard from National Institutes of Health and otherwise that we're killing up to a million, a million and a half people every year in our hospitals. And it's access to hospitals that's killing those people."

Jones' responded, "There are millions more that are helped by that. It's important to keep in mind that while there are risks it's important to keep in mind that the benefits outweigh them."

Jones was advocating for approval of the Governor's "Healthy Utah" plan. The plan would use federal money set aside to expand Medicaid insurance for the poor while creating a program that uses private insurers and requires recipients to work or look for work.


  • Trish Ramirez

    So this guy was REALLY using the fact that sometimes people have bad outcomes in medical care facilities as an excuse to try to deny coverage to underprivileged Utahns? Really? Did he elaborate on the initial injuries that his ‘friend of a friend’ suffered in the accident to send him seeking medical care in the first place? Should we simply start denying ALL people access to medical assistance because there is a chance that they may not be made well or even suffer more harm?? Do we say “Well, in 99.9% of cases, this medication will alleviate your symptoms. .01% of the time, you may suffer adverse effects. I guess we won’t be treating you today.”


    Perhaps we should continue to let patients and their doctors weigh risks vs. benefits of treatments and procedures WITHOUT the interference of an outside party who thinks they know better because they are the one crunching the numbers.

    This doctor/representative is more than welcome to individually assess his patients and make determinations as to their care based upon their ability to pay or lack thereof if that’s what he chooses to do, but to try to do so and hide behind some facade of trying to do what’s best is a load of baloney and I think everyone knows it.

    If his argument were valid, why be in the medical profession at all?

    (Perhaps to get rich???)

  • bam1021

    Mike Kennedy, the person I am running against in Alpine for House District 27, argued that we should not expand Medicare coverage because access to hospitals can hurt people. He also said that it can cause addiction. Seriously? Frankly, if I was in a position where I didn’t have health care, I’d like to take my own chances. But Mike is committed to making sure that doesn’t happen. There is nothing special about wealthy people like Mike that prevents them from being subject to the same risks as those who do not qualify for coverage. But I bet his kids get to see a doctor if they are sick. If he is truly concerned, he should willingly give up his own coverage. How about it, Mike?

    The irony is that Mike comes from an impoverished background in Michigan and his consistent position of denying benefits to those in need is the height of hypocrisy. He is also a doctor. Is Mike admitting that in his practice he is doing more harm than good?

    Legislators like Mike, who are willing to use tortured, elitist arguments to deny caring for those members of our society most at risk, are morally bankrupt, and do not deserve to carry the torch of leadership.

    • Chris Blask

      I have known Mr. McGee for twenty years, and he is one of the most brilliant and hard working people I have ever met. Some things Alpine voters should know about Bill:
      – He is one of the most respected experts on information security in the world.
      – Bill is a tremendous leader. I have seen him work with corporate and government leadership around the world, and even in a room full of leaders Bill is the one that everyone remembers.
      – Bill understands business. Together we built a $5 billion dollar business for Cisco Systems. His work has created more jobs than most people alive.
      – He is a Mormon scholar of great regard. Bill has always been very active in the church and knows more about Mormon scripture than anyone I have ever met.
      – Bill is one of the best fathers it has been my privilege to know. I have taken many lessons from him in raising my own children. He and Linda have raised eight children who are each one among the most brilliant and decent people it is my pleasure to know.
      – Bill is passionate and hard working.

      Vote for William McGee in 2014 to put the most talented person most of us will ever meet at the service of the community.

      Chris Blask
      Industrial Control System Information Sharing and Analysis Center

  • Charlotte Lawrence

    The more time I have had to digest this. The more sadness I feel for him.
    It’s sad knowing how he was raised in Michigan. How they all came dressed to church. I feel sad for him and his children and that now he can’t see past the nose on his face. But I also feel sad for the people who have bought into his beliefs. Those who voted this man in or take their children to see him as a doctor. It’s sad when we stand on a soapbox and judge others and pat ourselves on our backs. At least I am real, I know my shortcomings, I know the wrong choices and decisions I have made. I am just glad I don’t have “friends” like you in my life Mr. Kennedy. Cause if that is what you think and speak in public….. what on earth are you saying under your breath and behind closed doors?

    I don’t think you are a good person. I think you are the biggest hypocrite I have ever seen in my life and one day, KARMA will come knock you square in the face.

  • John Burkett

    How Kennedy draws a link between someone have a rare reaction to pain medication to hospitals killing millions is beyond comprehension.

  • sophie katt

    Kennedy assumes his audience is stupid and they will believe his bizarre and illogical conclusions. When in fact – he’s only succeeded in making himself look even more stupid.

    In the future, Kennedy, don’t under-estimate your audience. If you do, you run the risk of looking as STUPID as you really are. The least you could do, Kennedy, is hide your own stupidity, instead of displaying it with such flagrant disregard for your political career.

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