Nev Schulman On Why Every Child Deserves Affordable Health Care

"Catfish" host Nev Schulman shared his experience taking his daughter to a hospital last week and reflected on how the cost of health care can financially cripple vulnerable families.


In a Facebook post published on Tuesday, Schulman said he took his 7-month-old daughter, Cleo, to a Los Angeles children's hospital to have her tested after observing unusual symptoms. While he was at the hospital cafeteria, Schulman met a "Catfish" fan whose 2-year-old son was on life support and needed a heart transplant.

"I was devastated," Schulman said. "As my eyes welled up, I didn't know what to say or do. I wanted to grab her and give her a huge hug, but just tried my best to look her in the eyes and tell her it was going to be ok. I wished her luck and we said goodbye."


"When you're in that situation and someone's life—someone's wellbeing—is essentially your responsibility, [affording health care] shouldn't ever have to even be a question," Schulman told ATTN:.

The doctors informed Schulman "there didn't seem to be anything wrong with Cleo." But after taking time to think about the experience, he recognized he was in a privileged position: able to afford medical care for his daughter in the event of an emergency.

"Sadly, many parents who are faced with a similar situation, find themselves without the health coverage needed to care for their kids, and end up in debt or bankrupt," he said. "This is unacceptable. The best care for your child should never come with a price tag."

"We need to find a way to ensure that every kid gets the best care possible, period."

Raising a child is expensive, costing families about $14,000 per year, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Housing and food account for most of those costs, but for children in need of medical care, the financial toll can be overwhelming.

Though children are generally covered under their parents' health insurance plans, families still spent an average of $472 out-of-pocket for their child's medical expenses in 2014, according to the Health Care Cost Institute. That represents a 5.5 percent increase from 2012, partly due to a rise in out-of-pocket costs for emergency room visits.

Those medical costs could rise under the Republican health care plan.

doctor's office

The proposed rollback of Medicaid would have a direct impact on children, who constitute about half of those enrolled in the federal program. As The Atlantic reported:

"The House bill would also change the way health care is delivered to children. Children’s hospitals are reliant on Medicaid funding; half of patients at these institutions are enrolled in the program. Because they need the money to keep the lights on, slashing covered benefits and enrollees would decrease revenues. It’d diminish the kinds of care these hospitals are able to provide children regardless of their insurance, and reduce their ability to provide uncompensated care for uninsured kids."

"It's crazy that we still haven't figured out a way in this country that when you or your kid needs care, that [affordable access] isn't just a completely obvious no-brainer," Schulman said.

You can read Schulman's full post here.