A couple whose son has the same debilitating condition as Charlie Gard shared their story on radio Tuesday.
Russell Cruzan II and Michelle Budnik-Nap in Kalamazoo, Michigan, had no idea that their baby Russell would be born with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. In a one-in-a-million coincidence, both parents carry the same gene, and their baby had a very small chance of inheriting the gene from both of them.
“[Russell and Charlie] both have mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome; it’s just different gene mutations causing it,” Budnik-Nap explained.
It first appeared Bubby’s treatment would be covered by insurance but the parents had some disheartening news shortly after their interview on Tuesday.
“About an hour after our interview with you on Tuesday, we heard from our local hospital. They were the ones that were working on the prior authorization. They had received a denial from… Priority Health, stating that they will not cover the mito specialist in Boston, because she’s a geneticist. And he sees a geneticist here. They don’t understand that there’s a difference between, you know, a mito specialist and a geneticist around here,” Michelle said.
“Hold on. Guys, we are talking about $10,000 probably, maximum. This audience should be able to do that in the next ten minutes,” Glenn said.
“Could you please go to YouCaring.com and just search for Bubby Cruzan. B-U-B-B-Y C-R-U-Z-A-N. It’s #Bubby. Look for Bubby Cruzan. And if you can, $5 — I mean, the people in this audience, just giving $5 at a time, we should be able to make a difference so this — this couple can go get just an initial appointment to see if their baby can be helped so we can fight the other battle with — what’s the name of the health care company again?
This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: I mean, if you thought the country had gone mad a minute ago, wait until we play the audio of some woman who was told on an airplane, “Wow, nice dress.” Oh, my gosh. Wait until you hear the rant and what this woman is saying and who this woman is, in just a second.
First, we want to bring you up to speed on a story we covered a couple of days ago. If you remember the parents of Bubby Cruzan — Russell Cruzan, the baby that was born and has the same disease that Charlie Gard had. We had the parents on.
They’re from Wisconsin, I believe. Or Michigan. And they were really happy and bubbly. And we asked them, how are things going? They said great things about their insurance company, which may change. Their insurance company, which was priority health, I believe.
And they said everything was being covered. And now it’s not. We got to get this story. Bubby Cruzan’s mother Michelle is on the phone. Also, dad Russell is on the phone. How are you guys doing?
RUSSELL: Pretty good, how about you?
GLENN: Good. Tell me what happened. Because we were hearing good things about this insurance company two days ago.
MICHELLE: Well, about an hour after our interview with you on Tuesday, we heard from our local hospital. They were the ones that were working on the prior authorization. They had received a denial from — from Boston — or, not Boston’s — I’m sorry. Priority Health, stating that they will not cover the mito specialist in Boston, because she’s a geneticist. And he sees a geneticist here. They don’t understand that there’s a difference between, you know, a mito specialist and a geneticist around here.
GLENN: Right. And the geneticist that you have there in Michigan is — is saying that, no, I’m the wrong kind of specialist.
MICHELLE: Yep. Yep. They’re obviously doing everything they can. But they don’t really have experience with his condition.
GLENN: So now what are you guys going to do? Are you guys appealing this? What is the name of the insurance company again?
RUSSELL: Priority Health.
MICHELLE: Priority Health. You know, we’re working on an appeal right now. And we’re also working with Boston Children’s Hospital to see if they will allow us to make the appointment right now without insurance approval and, you know, possibly end up having to pay out of pocket. We just want to do everything we can to get little Russell to a doctor that can help him.
GLENN: Well, here again, we are seeing, you know, insurance providers — in England, it was the state. In America, it is — I’m sorry. What is the name of the company again?
RUSSELL: Priority Health.
GLENN: Priority Health.
Here we’re seeing — Stu, will you just remind me of that, in case I forget again?
STU: I don’t remember the name. What was the name again? I’m sorry.
RUSSELL: Priority Health.
STU: Priority Health. Got it.
GLENN: Priority Health. Here we’re seeing a company that decides that they know better than the actual doctors do. That’s weird. Because the state over in England were listening to the doctors. Here in a capitalist, free market system, a company like —
PAT: And who was the company?
GLENN: Priority Health. Priority Health.
RUSSELL: Priority Health. Priority Health.
GLENN: They think they know more than the doctors, which is interesting. Boy, that probably should be — I wonder if they have a website or if they have a Facebook.
Jeffy, could you look up Priority Health. So if they have a Facebook page.
JEFFY: Priority Health.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh, they don’t like it — companies don’t like when you start to tweet their name and say things like, “How could you do what the health care system did to Charlie Gard? Are we going to run the clock out on this child too?”
Do they have a Facebook page? Look it up. It’s Priority Health. I’m sure you could find it and maybe tweet Priority Health on that and ask them how this is — how this is good for the family.
You have a YouCaring page. If you search for Bubby. B-U-B-B-Y. YouCaring.com. Can we — if listeners wanted to help, you know — you know, give you guys money to be able to pay for it yourself, will the hospital take self-funded people?
MICHELLE: We’re working on that right now. We believe that if we had the funds to it, which right now we don’t have any idea how much it would cost. But we’ve heard that — another person said they had a 25-minute appointment there that cost over $2,000. They put the figure around 2800. But we’re hoping if we have the funds, you know, after our travel and everything, that we would be allowed to pay out of pocket.
GLENN: So wait a minute. So you’re just trying to get enough money to buy the airline ticket and the first doctor’s appointment?
MICHELLE: We’re — we’re working on it, yeah. Thankfully, Miracle Flights reached out to us after your show. Thank you so much. And, you know, they might help with that. But we still have lodging costs. Obviously, food for when we’re there. Any expenses related to —
GLENN: Okay. Okay. Okay. Hold on.
MICHELLE: Pay for the appointment.
GLENN: Hold on. Guys, we are talking about $10,000 probably, maximum. This audience should be able to do that in the next ten minutes.
Could — could you please go to YouCaring.com and just search for Bubby Cruzan. B-U-B-B-Y C-R-U-Z-A-N. It’s #Bubby. Look for Bubby Cruzan. And if you can, $5 — I mean, the people in this audience, just giving $5 at a time, we should be able to make a difference so this — this couple can go get just an initial appointment to see if their baby can be helped so we can fight the other battle with — what’s the name of the health care company again?
RUSSELL: It’s Priority Health.
GLENN: Priority Health.
PAT: And it looks like Priority Health is on Facebook. And they also have LinkedIn.
JEFFY: Twitter, @Priority Health. Facebook.
PAT: They’re all over the internet.
RUSSELL: They’re one of the largest ones in the company.
GLENN: Huh, and what’s their Facebook page?
RUSSELL: They should have like the most money. And they just don’t want to cough it up.
STU: I think to get the Facebook page, you just go to Facebook.com and search for “Priority Health.”
GLENN: Priority Health. That’s how you do it? Facebook.com.
And I know companies, they like to hear on their Facebook page and they like to see on Twitter, they like to see people, you know, point all of the wonderful things that they have done. Now, sometimes, companies don’t like it when you point out the heartless things that they might be forgetting to do. But I’m sure they have just forgotten that they — the business that they all, you know, dreamt about getting into when they were kids and they were on the playground. Some day, I’m going to be an actuary. Some day, I’m going to be an insurance agent for Priority Health. I’m sure they’ve just forgotten those dreams from the playground and forgotten that they’re there to help heal people.
PAT: You would assume by the name, Priority Health, that health is a priority. Wouldn’t you?
GLENN: You would. You would.
PAT: You would think that, but…
JEFFY: Hmm. They’ve got a feedback button on their website too.
GLENN: Do they really? Priority Health has that?
JEFFY: Sends them a secure email.
PAT: That’s interesting.
GLENN: Let’s say you had $5 and you could go to YouCaring.com and you could help this couple raise money so we don’t, as a capitalist, free society, do exactly to these parents what England’s health care system did just a few weeks ago. Let’s — let’s show the world that that’s not the way capitalism works. That that’s not the way free people behave. Let’s get them into an appointment. And let’s say — if you have time after that, you might go to Facebook and to Twitter and just tweet something to Priority Health in a very nice, reasoned way. Because I’m sure they just need to be remind that health is their priority.
Guys, thank you so much. Michelle, Russell.
RUSSELL: Thank you.
MICHELLE: Thank you, Glenn.
GLENN: We’ll check in with you again. God bless.
STU: If you go to @worldofStu, by the way, on Twitter, I tweeted the — and I’m sure @GlennBeck will have it tweeted as well, the link to the YouCaring page. So make sure you can actually find it. And if you wanted to find any of the social sites, if you search Google for “Priority Health,” you will see —
GLENN: Is that the insurance company?
STU: That’s the insurance company they were just talking about.
GLENN: Priority Health.
STU: Priority Health is the name of it.
GLENN: The one that they paid to give them — give their health priority. And then the doctor said, “No, I’m a different kind of DNA specialist. I’m really not a geneticist that can do this kind of work.” And so the hospital and the doctor said they should go to this particular specialist. And Priority Health said, “No. That person is good enough for you.”
GLENN: Huh. I wonder how much Priority Health’s — boy, we should look into Priority Health because I bet they’re not gouging people’s eyes out as well. I bet they would love us to spend a day, several days, a freaking month going over what they do. Maybe I could take — you know what, if Priority Health doesn’t see the error of their ways, I’m going to dedicate Monday as an open phone day. And I will take the phone calls of all of the Priority Health customers that maybe feel their eyes are being gouged out. And we’ll take those calls, and we’ll let America know how much their health is a priority for Priority Health.
STU: Of course, we should give them the opportunity to do that.
GLENN: I know. I know. So I think they’re going to find the error of their ways. I think they’re going to be able to say, you know what, that’s crazy. Because we misunderstood. It’s not the same kind of doctor. And we don’t know more than what the experts in the field know. And so we’re going to — we’re going to make this a priority.
But in case —
STU: What, health?
GLENN: In case they would like some extra free publicity, I’m going to help them have all of the free publicity that I can possibly provide. And, you know, you always say, don’t talk to the — don’t — I don’t want to talk to the salesman. I want to talk to the customers.
So if they’re such a great insurance company, which I’m sure they are, they won’t have any problem having customers call up and give them a free commercial all freaking Monday.
But I’m sure they’re going to wake up.