Government Health Care at its Finest

Former Vice President Dick Cheney received a new heart this past weekend. After several heart attacks — the first of which occurred in his 30s — it appears that the underused? overstressed heart he had was in need of a replacement. I wish him well; failing health is no joke.

Being ever hopeful I’m wondering if, with this change of heart, perhaps he will have a change of heart in various other matters?

Not. Very. Likely.

I’m sure Mr. Cheney and I will never see eye to eye about many things but there are two things about which he and I can agree: though they’re becoming more common, a heart transplant represents medicine and technology at its finest, AND, transplants are not cheap. Period.

According to Transplant Living, the average cost for a heart transplant in the U.S. is $997,000. Wow. That is one helluva price tag! I guess he’s quite fortunate that he doesn’t belong to some health maintenance organisation (HMO) with a maximum lifetime benefit, defined as the “maximum amount a health plan will pay in benefits to a covered person during that individual’s lifetime. Once an individual has exhausted his or her lifetime maximum benefit under the plan, the plan will exclude any additional charges.”

Oh wait…What? That’s how it used to be before “Obamacare!”

That’s right. Obamacare.

The healthcare reform discussion is back in the news. Not solely because of Mr. Cheney’s new heart but because so-called “Obamacare” is facing a judge and jury in the form of the Supreme Court. Why? Because many on the Right still don’t seem to think that all American citizens deserve the same type and quality of healthcare coverage that Mr. Cheney will enjoy for the rest of his life — his own single-payer system, if you will.

The government-provided, i.e., taxpayer-supported, healthcare that Mr. Cheney (who is my new favourite example of “socialist health care”) receives is under attack because 26 states filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and, in particular, the mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance.

The Right knows that it’s not about a government takeover and, much to my dismay, the provision to have  a government alternative to the private system was kicked to the curb during the healthcare reform congressional battles. Frankly, it should make the Supreme Court happy that large private insurers will do well with this mandate because insurers will be able to sell coverage to individuals and small businesses.  And we just know how much regard the SCOTUS gives big corporations… Maybe the problem is really all of those previously uninsured kids and the folks who have a “pre-existing condition.”

Let’s see what happens…though I don’t recall anyone bothering to ask me if I pre-approved more than half of the Justices who will hear this case.


Image: Idea go /