Originally Posted by swede
NOt taking this personally , at all (we have no debt except for our very reasonable mortgage), but what if your child needed life saving immediate surgery that you couldn't pay cash for? I am not talking about an "optional treatment", but a surgery. Would you really not get the surgery done on credit?
Exactly. It's one thing to say that funding private speech therapy, or consults with doctors who may or may not be able to help isn't worth going into debt. But if there was a sudden emergency, you can't guarantee that you could pay for it - and if you have the resources you may not qualify for a payment plan or charity care through a hospital, since they expect you to do what you have to do to pay everything possible and more. We're not talking about daily vitamins or pushing the time limit on when a kid needs new glasses. I mean, if my dd suddenly had to have life-saving medication or we were in a car accident and she needed surgery, there's no way I'm standing on principle not paying for it. What that gets you is in more debt, since then you owe the hospital for whatever procedure, and they will report if you don't pay it. It can be easier to pay for a house in cash than to cover unexpected medical bills. A preemie baby can run into millions before they hit a year old.
There are children out there who require tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses every single month to keep them alive - take a child who is on a ventilator, with a trach, a G-tube, and then of course the associated tubing that has to be changed, gloves, medications, special formula, visits to the doctor, additional transportation costs due to increased travel and the need for specialized seating - it goes on and on and on. And any kid could become a child requiring intense medical intervention - a car crash, a fall, choking on a bit of hot dog or near-drowning in the pool or tub. Anoxic event --> brain injury --> medical bills I'm not fear mongering, it's unlikely for it to be your child, or my child, but it happens to kids every year. If you're not willing to go into debt, and you don't have tens of millions of dollars, you can't afford those kinds of bills, even with stellar insurance. And pretty much nobody out there will let their child die instead of taking on debt.
Of course, whether the burden of paying for complex care for medically involved children should fall so hard on the family is another issue, but the world is what it is.