GOP raises questions about Gill's 'Susan' ad on health care

2012-09-28T18:00:00Z 2012-10-24T22:37:25Z GOP raises questions about Gill's 'Susan' ad on health careBy Kurt Erickson
September 28, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

By Kurt Erickson

SPRINGFIELD — One of Democratic congressional candidate David Gill’s newest television ads focuses on a 39-year-old woman named Susan who he says died of a heart attack because she lacked health insurance.

But, a review of the emergency room doctor’s past campaign material shows the story about Susan isn’t necessarily new. And, it’s not clear who Susan really is.

In a 2006 campaign video produced when Gill was making an unsuccessful bid for Congress in Illinois’ 15th District, he told a similar story about a 39-year-old person who died of a heart attack that may have been prevented had the person been covered by health insurance.

But in the 2006 telling — and in another version published on a blog in 2009 — the subject of the story was a man, not a woman named Susan.

That has raised questions from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which supports Gill’s opponent, Rodney Davis of Taylorville, in the race for the 13th District seat.

“Health care is a serious issue. David Gill appears to be manipulating the facts to justify his support of government-run health care. Let’s stick to the facts and try to not mislead the voter,” wrote NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill in an email Friday.

In a statement issued in response, Gill said he was, indeed, referring to two different patients he treated several years apart. He noted 42,540 Illinoisans die of cardiovascular disease every year.

“My Republican opponent and his supporters are trashing the memories of these Illinoisans for cheap political gain,” Gill said in a news release.

Gill deputy campaign manager Tom Alte previously said Gill can’t discuss the specifics of who Susan really is because of doctor-patient confidentiality policies. But, Alte said, “She was a real person.”

In Gill’s subsequent statement, the doctor said he treated Susan more than a decade ago at Dr. John Warner Hospital in Clinton.

"The sad thing these people had in common was that they both died because they didn't have health insurance," said Lucy Stein, Gill's press secretary, in the later statement. "These are two different people years apart who suffered a fate that happens to someone in America every twelve minutes: They didn't have insurance coverage and they couldn't afford to pay the bills out of their pockets."

Stein previously suggested Susan may be an amalgamation of a number of similar experiences Gill has had over the years.

The Susan character is playing a prominent role in Gill’s campaign as he and Davis head toward a Nov. 6 showdown in a district stretching from Champaign to Edwardsville.

On his Facebook page, Gill says, “Check out our new TV spot & help me keep fighting for Susan.”

He’s also using “Susan” in his latest fundraising appeals.

Roger Miller contributed to this report.


You make the call

Following are transcripts from campaign videos made by Dr. David Gill:

From his 2012 campaign: “I’ll never forget the Sunday afternoon that I took care of a young woman, a 39-year-old woman, came in, in full cardiac arrest, a woman named Susan and we tried and tried to resuscitate her and we didn’t succeed, she died. I talked to her husband shortly thereafter and he was beside himself obviously and he said this shouldn’t have happened, she had chest pain a week ago and she was told that we should get you admit-ted and worked up, have a stress test. And she had one of those jobs that doesn’t provide health insurance and so they looked at each other, her chest pain had subsided, and they went on home and now here she was in front of me stone cold dead ... She had two beautiful little children and now they have to grow without a mom and he now doesn’t have his wife.”

Watch the 2012 video:

Watch the 2012 “Susan” TV ad:

From his 2006 campaign: “Several weeks ago I had a 39-year-old patient die in my emergency room, leaving behind his wife and two small children. He had a heart attack and for about a week previously he had had some mild chest pains on and off. But, because he lacked health insurance, he ignored his wife’s pleas to go see a doc-tor. And so, as so often happens, he wound up in my ER too late. Now his two little children will grow up without a father.”

Watch the 2006 video:

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(14) Comments

  1. OriginalMJ
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    OriginalMJ - September 29, 2012 5:11 pm
    You wrote, "The United States Government HAS NO BUSINESS telling a person they have to purchase a specific product." Well, then, how about the states (all 50 of them) ordering drivers to buy auto insurance? Do you drive a car? Do you have car insurance? Do you think every driver should? Are you a hypocrite?
  2. Jim Killian Gibson City
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    Jim Killian Gibson City - September 29, 2012 1:00 pm
    So the point of your story is Don't buy into insurance because if you get sick or injured there is already a way for you not to pay for it. Even if your bill runs into the 'hundreds of thousands of dollars,' somebody else will pay for it and it won't cost you a dime.

    WOW! I am cancelling my insurance today. If I get sick or injured, we'll just stick everybody else with the bill.

    Wish I'd have thought of that sooner....
  3. BC
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    BC - September 29, 2012 7:34 am
    You know this how? The Brits life expectancy is higher than ours. Their infant mortality is lower than ours. We rank just above developing countries on those points. Cuba scores higher than we do.
  4. BC
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    BC - September 29, 2012 7:32 am
    Obama/Pelosi care hasn't gone into effect yet. The climb in costs you quote is because they can knowing full well the sheep will buy the tale. The stock holders in the for profit medical field want you to reject and appeal the program because it will cut down their pay check. There is some limits on profit and a given portion has to go to medical care not skimmed off for the gamblers. It will eliminate the doctors taking all the financial hits. At present most doctors have been bullied to join a huge medical group that gets their share and cuts what the doctor is paid. If a doctor doesn't align himself with one of these groups he risks losing privileges in their hospitals. Your doctor has to prescribe and treat according to cost and profit not by the best interest of the patient. They have to dismiss you when you no longer turn a profit whether you are ready to go home or not.
  5. BC
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    BC - September 29, 2012 7:19 am
    You should not be forced to buy single payer health insurance, agreed. Canadians have the right to buy private insurance if they choose, most opt for the single payer insurance they PAY for. Hospital charity is fine if you qualify, not all do. It also comes out of your pocket by higher charges to your insurance and higher premiums to you. Guess you don't mind that. Again the health care reform isn't taking over medicine it is providing a way to PAY for medical treatment. I'm sure you will still be allowed to donate nearly half your medical dollars to profit and wasted expenses if you wish. The law says you have to have insurance, the rest is up to you. If you are depending on charity to cover you then you are a free loader no different than the people you blast that is on entitlement programs. Other people pay for that charity, its not a gift from the hospital. Also I can give you examples of people who didn't qualify and are in debt for over $100,000 that is being snatched from their wages weekly. If you earn a few bucks above the poverty level line that will be you. Medical bills is one of, if not the leading, cause of personal bankruptcy. Not every for profit medical provider in all sections of this country offer charity, this area is fortunate. Our statistics on the worldwide scale put us behind all other industrialized countries in health. It's not smokes or fat it is lack of availability of medical care. You are a profit generator, your care is based on how much it will profit against how much it will cost. When the bed you are in quits making maximum profit you are tossed out for a more profitable occupant. The excuse people heal better at home is translated to we have someone else waiting who brings in more bucks. A relapse at home makes you a profitable customer again so they happily re-admit you. That kid you know was big bucks, paid by all the other patients or their insurance. If you chose that route then you are one of the people living off your friends and neighbors.
  6. annieoakley
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    annieoakley - September 29, 2012 5:14 am
    Well, I look at it like this....If you want a single payer system like Canada, MOVE to Canada! The United States Government HAS NO BUSINESS telling a person they have to purchase a specific product. Besides, I don't know one hospital that doesn't have some kind of charity to help those in need. I knew a kid that got into a very serious car accident, injured his spleen. He refused to allow them to remove it because he didn't want to be on meds the rest of his life. So they did what they could and he survived. The bill was covered 100% by the charity within the hospital. Then one day he had to be rushed to the hospital again, and the local hospital here, paid 100% of said hospital bill. The hospital bills that had accrued were well over hundreds of thousands of dollars. The young man was in icu for 2 weeks originally. They didn't just let him die and they didn't give him 2 huge hospital bills because he didn't have health insurance. Don't violate my rights as an American Citizen by forcing your b.s. on me. I don't want nor do I need ANOTHER TAX!
    Report Abuse
    GATXER - September 28, 2012 7:35 pm
    So you think I should vote for party before country?

    Sorry not going to happen......Im voting for Obama for the same reason I did in 2008......between the 2 men hes clearly the best man for the job.

    Im going to once again have to vote for the GOP for the house for the same reason.....betwwen the 2 Dr. Gill is NOT the person for the job.....hes lost many times before so I cant be the only one who feels that way.

    The the party of NO is a talking point for fools......Clinton has BOTH a Gop House and Senate most of the time yet he got a lot done.....Ronny Raygun had BOTH a Democrat House and Senate and he got allot done.

    If I thought Obama couldnt work with a GOP congress I would NOT vote for him because thats somebody who cant do the job.....he can and he will........if the Dems gave me someone who I didnt fear being in power I would vote for that person......ONCE again they once again I will vote for the Gop......PLEASE after Gill loses this time.....maybe somebody who can and "SHOULD" win will run next time. I hated voting for Johnson for the same reason but like most people in the district I didnt want Gill in the US House!

    If you dont think Gill is in over his head I would say take the time to talk to him about issues other than health and if he doesnt scare the hell out of are a sheep for the Dems or to dumb to vote. I would LOVE to give Obama a Dem house......just give me someone who can do the job!
  8. Smartone
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    Smartone - September 28, 2012 5:11 pm
    So you will vote for the continued do nothing policies for the last two years! That is not what the country needs. The President needs his supporters to also vote with him so that seats in the House and Senate are also on his side along with the countries side. The bickering in the House which is at a 10% approval rating is because the only thing the GOP wants to do is throw out Obama. The party of NO - GOP needs to be thrown out to the dogs for doing nothing. Let them go get in the unemployment line instead of wanting to keep the tax cuts that Bush put into place for the richest people. If you want absolutely nothing to change, then vote your mentality of thinking because that is exactly what will happen. I don't believe Gill is in over his head. Look at the TeaParty representatives that were see to Washington just 2 years ago. They just want to back McConnell and Boehner. The House must go back to the DEMS and more seats need to be taken in the Senate by the DEMS too. The GOP is not what the majority of the population in this country want anymore nor do we believe in their hatred against the gays which is bullying that we are trying to teach our children in school not to do. These people talk one way of saying don't bully, then go to church and say its wrong for people to be gay, or its wrong for everyone to have national healthcare. I am sorry, but that is not the kind of religious beliefs that I will participate in and that is why many young people are no longer wanting to be apart of the church too. Times have changed, and the GOP needs to get on board because the train in leaving the station on many issues. I will vote for Gill because he will get something done in the House unlike nothing which has been done the last two years. The taxpayers are paying for these GOP seats of over $100,000 per year with great medical benefits while the middle class continues to deteroriate into the lower class. Wake up, if you want change then not only re-elect Obama, but elect representatives that write the laws to support him and get this country growing again.
  9. yosemite sam
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    yosemite sam - September 28, 2012 4:43 pm
    In Canada they have an 85% approval rate for their single payer system
  10. GATXER
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    GATXER - September 28, 2012 3:50 pm
    Dr Gill seems like a nice guy and a good Dr but hes just not up to the job IMHO. Ive talked with him a few times and hes great on Medical issues but not so good on other things.

    So one again I will vote for Obama and the GOP for house.....I mean come on is Gill the only Dem in the district? We had a great chance to turn this seat this time but once again we put up the same guy whos lost time after time.

    I just wont vote for someone who I think is clearly in over his head for a job like that.
  11. popo
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    popo - September 28, 2012 3:20 pm
    Harcourt needs to go to the UK and experience single payer govt. insurance. If you make it out of the hospital alive perhaps you wont be so ignorant.
  12. One Who Knows
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    One Who Knows - September 28, 2012 2:52 pm
    Haven't you all heard? Health insurance costs are climbing astronomically, thanks to obamacare! The sad part is, in the future, even if you do have insurance if you are above the useful age you will not get full treatment.
  13. Smartone
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    Smartone - September 28, 2012 2:21 pm
    Harcourt I totally agree with you. For all of the Republicans that have health insurance, they do not care about anyone who does not. They just see the ones who do not as lazy and non tax paying citizens which could be no further from the truth. As a parent that just had a child checked for chest pains, I have a bill for less than $40 for an EKG and x-ray. The EOB stated the insurance company paid $167. The charges billed before the insurance took off the preferred providers deduction was $441. Now you tell me if you have no insurance you pay $441 or you don't go because you know your unable to pay the bill once it comes in the mail. Even if Gill's street is not verifiable, there are other people that it actually happened too that just didn't make the newspapers. There should be nationwide healthcare for every citizen, not just the rich who can afford the insurance. The rankings of the U.S. is pathetic compared to other industrialized countries. The time has already past for needed change, and change is coming with the GOP so called Obamacare. It makes insurance companies less profitable because they have to spend a high percent of premiums collected on payouts. They cannot deny a child health insurance because of a diagnosis and they won't be able to deny adults either come 2014. There are a lot of great things with Obamacare and nothing good about the GOP plan which is basically you are on your own, hope your rich philosophy. There needs to be a one payer system for everyone and at least the Obama plan is a step in the right direction for the future. The GOP just wants to continually go backwards and do things how they have always been done in the past. This no longer works and that mentality of thinking needs to be put to bed. The future is here, and it is with the Obama healthcare plan to not only reduce and control costs, but to put a human factor into the equation called compassion for other human beings instead of just the me mentality.
  14. Harcourt
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    Harcourt - September 28, 2012 1:48 pm
    Mr. Gill has the moral high ground on the topic of health insurance. He has worked in the middle of it all and knows the tragedies awaiting us unless we can garner single-payer govt. insurance eventually. Too many republicans and right wing conservatives are thinking only of themselves and sitting on their good insurance coverage.
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