State Rep. Chris Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids) at his Office Hours at Red Hot Inn in Grand Rapids

CITIZEN: Mine was a little hypothetical. Me and my dad were just talking about it the other day in regards to health care. We’ve been — I’ve been hearing, my dad’s been hearing, we’ve been talking about just a way to help lower costs. So, for example, it has to do with essential health benefits, I guess. So for example, I’m a guy, I don’t need to be paying for maternity care or a woman doesn’t need to be paying for a prostate exam or something that has to do with males. I don’t have diabetes, I don’t need to be paying for diabetes coverage. So I guess my question is — bringing the cost down is really — having people pick their own health care plans to whatever suit their best needs. I don’t need maternity care, I could save a decent amount of money not paying that. So really choosing what I need for my health plan. So, really what are your thoughts on giving people that kind of choice?

AFENDOULIS: [...] When you see people get — here’s an example, then I gotta get to these other folks. My dad — he was going to die. His intestines had shut down. He’s on Medicare, we talked to the doctor and they said, “Well, we can do a surgery and take everything out and put bags in, he’ll probably die anyway and this and that.” We’re like, “No, don’t do it.” Now, how many families would say “Do it. We need to do whatever we can to save dad, even if it’s going to give him another or two weeks, a month.” If we had said yes, I can’t imagine what it would have cost. It wouldn’t have cost us anything, but it would have cost the federal — would have cost Medicare a quarter of a million dollars. You know? So the question is, people are afraid, first of all to die — and it’s really emotional. But you sit there and go, “Jeez.” Now if they said to you, “Tim, your dad — we can do this surgery on him but it’s going to cost you $50,000.” You’d go, “Dad’s had a good life.” I mean you make those kind of value judgements and it’s really hard. But it’s just an example where people get emotional at the end. We spend a lot of our money on end of life care.”

Note: This was a long exchange. To listen to the full exchange, click here.