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Reality Check: Mike McFadden's 'Stitches' Ad

MINNEAPOLIS (WCOO) – Minnesota's GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden is a hands-on guy. So much so, his family says he practices DIY health care.

In a McFadden television ad called "Stitches" airing widely in Minnesota, McFadden's son says his father removed his stitches because he thought it cost too much.

"When I was 10, and had to get stitches out after a hockey injury, the nurse said it would cost $100," Conor McFadden said. "Dad was so horrified, he grabbed the scissors and took them out himself!"

"You lived!" responds Mike McFadden, with a smile.

Medical experts say it's not a good idea for parents to practice their own suture removal, and McFadden's not recommending it, either.

"No McFadden children were harmed in the making of the ad," Tom Erickson, McFadden's campaign spokesman, said.

"We are in no way encouraging other parents to do the same. That decision is best left to parents in consultation with medical professionals. We're simply highlighting how simple procedures can have big price tags," he said.

McFadden is right about the cost of a suture procedure -- sort of.

There's a wide range of price tags for getting stitches and getting stitches removed.

Most of it covered by insurance

National health care surveys reveal the cost of emergency room stitches can be thousands of dollars, but getting them removed is not.

In Minnesota the costs are as follows:

  • $99 at a Minute Clinic
  • $135 at United Family Health Care in St. Paul
  • $150 at Park Nicollet Hospital in Minneapolis

McFadden says his ad is a metaphor for the high cost of health care.

He proposes to repeal and replace "Obamacare".

He doesn't say how, but he'd like to keep the popular programs.

"The replacement would ensure that pre-existing conditions are covered, that children can stay on their parents plans until the age of 26, includes a ban on lifetime limits and give states more power to tackle healthcare reform in the ways that's best for their residents," Erickson said.

In addition to keeping the most popular programs in the new health care law, McFadden says he would not repeal the controversial Medicaid expansion, which covers the poorest Americans.

"Eliminating the Medicaid expansion would create a huge budget problem for the states that chose to expand it for their citizens," said Erickson.  "Mike has no plan to leave them high and dry."

No word on a new McFadden "stitches" program, which is covered by federal health care laws, sometimes with a small co-pay.

That's Reality Check.


Here are some the sources we used for this Reality Check:

Mike McFadden for US Senate

McFadden TV ad "Stitches"

Cost of Medical Procedures by Region

Minute Clinic Price List

$500 a Stitch: New York Times


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