Matthew Jelalian 01

Matthew Jelalian poses for a portrait in the Daily Herald studio on Friday, March 6, 2015. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

So, my oldest son decided to go play in his room. He’s 2 years old and was unattended for maybe 15 minutes.

When I got upstairs, he was talking about “blue up his nose.” We’ve recently been using this nosebleed gel recommended by the doctor which was blueish. so I thought he was talking about that. Turns out, he was talking about some Nosefrida filters he shoved up his nose. You know, the things you use to suck snot out of their nose?

My wife and I called the pediatrician and he said he didn’t have the necessary equipment and that we should go to the emergency room. We were still hoping to save a buck, so we called urgent care, but they also said we should go to the ER. So, I took him to the ER.

We got into the lobby, signed some papers and found one of the only outlets in the newly-constructed wing of the hospital. They were next to a guy who was literally having a heart attack.

He was surprisingly polite all things considered. Armed with a charging cord and my unlimited Wi-Fi, we sat down and watched Blippi videos until it was our turn.

All of the medical staff were super nice and friendly.

The moment they saw us walking down the hall they started earning my son’s trust. So much so that my son danced his way into the room.

They asked him questions. He answered them. It was all amazing. My kid had everyone fooled. Those doctors probably thought he was the world’s most well-behaved child, even though when he’s at home, he’s more like the Incredible’s Jack-Jack on PCP and Rockstar.

It was almost a fun experience. If you want, you can check out my Instagram to see the extraction.

But then came the fun part: talking insurance.

When they ran my insurance, my part of the bill was estimated at a whopping $812.

No anesthetic. No Advil. No gauze. Not even a disinfectant wipe.

Just some fancy tweezers and a well-behaved kid.

It was a great experience, but not $812 great. This wasn’t Disneyland after all.

You might be saying if I didn’t like the price I shouldn’t have gone there. You might think that’s a smart, reasonable argument. You’d be wrong.

Remember, I turned to two other medical centers with real doctors. Both said no. I could have just got some tweezers at CVS and extracted it by myself, but if my kid twitched even slightly, I would have punctured a membrane in his nose.

Next thing I know, one of the great reporters at the Daily Herald would write a story about my botched home lobotomy and all of you who are thinking that I had a plethora of choices would instead just be writing comments like, “I knew he was a child killer. Just read his columns, the dude was nuts.”

The fact is, there was only one reasonable choice for me to make. And that choice came with 30 seconds of medical care, some Pixar Cars stickers and an $800 bill. Luckily, my family is in a pretty good place, thanks to my wife’s coding skills and no thanks to my three jobs and college degree. I have some money in an HSA and we have enough money saved up in our bank account.

But most people don’t have those things. For a lot of people, $800 is a crippling debt.

I’d hope that we could all agree that the medical care in this country, although it probably has its problems, is by-and-large pretty good. But can we also agree that prices are radically out of control? That seems like a pretty bipartisan statement that everyone from Trump supporters to Warren supporters should be able to get behind, no? Something has to be done.

I get it, nobody wants to pay for anyone else’s medical bills. But studies show that nearly 45,000 people have died because they couldn’t afford medical care. I’m not saying that means we need universal health care, but it means we need something. Especially if we’re claiming that we’re pro-life. These growing prices will not only affect individuals, but it will have a lasting effect on our economy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We all pay for our choices in one way or another. Just because we’re not signing that check for government-backed insurance doesn’t mean we won’t be paying for it in some other way down the road. Payment will be extracted one way or the other. Utah is a state of innovation. It is also a hotbed of young families with eight children, all of whom will eventually shove something up their nose.

Let’s take steps to improve health care and decrease its costs, both in the private and public sectors. Also, let’s get some more outlets in that ER lobby. If my phone died on me, my kid would have been so angry they’d have had to treat him for psychological trauma. Those outlets are actually preventative medicine.