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Sat Mar 31, 2012, 05:17 PM

Taxpayers paid over a million dollars for Cheney's heart transplant [View all]

A heart transplant is considered a serious, life-saving surgery. In the procedure, a person’s damaged or diseased heart is replaced with a healthy heart from a deceased organ donor. Most heart transplants are done on patients who have end-stage heart failure which means that patient’s health is so severe that all treatments have failed. In Cheney’s case, he had suffered five separate heart attacks (the first at age 37) and had remained alive for the past two years or so with the use of a heart valve pump called a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD).

Fortunately for Cheney, the cost of his health care was covered by taxpayers. In addition to health insurance provided through the government for Cheney’s years of service, Cheney, like millions of other Americans was eligible for Medicare benefits when he turned 65. In most cases, if you are retired and have Medicare, as well as health plan coverage from a former employer, Medicare pays first. The group health plan coverage pays second (booklet downloads as a pdf). Either way, it’s tax dollars at work.

It’s ironic, of course, that Cheney received his new heart just as the debate about Obamacare was being argued in front of the Supreme Court. The costs of getting better and staying healthy are controversial. Patients are living longer. Medical advances – like Cheney’s new heart and my mom’s new heart valve – can add years to a person’s life. But is it worth it? And who should pay for it? And should there be a test to decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t (specters of the so-called death panels)? In other words:

Should taxpayers foot the bill whenever a patient is too old/too fat/has smoked for too long/(fill in the blank)?

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Reply Taxpayers paid over a million dollars for Cheney's heart transplant [View all]
malaise Mar 2012 OP
Scuba Mar 2012 #1
lastlib Mar 2012 #11
malaise Mar 2012 #12
marlakay Mar 2012 #19
hifiguy Apr 2012 #33
XanaDUer Mar 2012 #20
robinlynne Mar 2012 #21
sabrina 1 Mar 2012 #2
malaise Mar 2012 #13
TheWraith Mar 2012 #3
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Mar 2012 #5
TheWraith Apr 2012 #32
malaise Mar 2012 #14
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Mar 2012 #4
lpbk2713 Mar 2012 #6
nadinbrzezinski Mar 2012 #7
freshwest Mar 2012 #15
sabrina 1 Mar 2012 #16
nadinbrzezinski Mar 2012 #17
sabrina 1 Mar 2012 #18
malaise Mar 2012 #22
HiPointDem Mar 2012 #8
rfranklin Mar 2012 #9
HiPointDem Apr 2012 #26
rfranklin Apr 2012 #27
malaise Mar 2012 #10
Puzzledtraveller Apr 2012 #31
1620rock Mar 2012 #23
spanone Mar 2012 #24
shimonitanegi Mar 2012 #25
malaise Apr 2012 #29
Octafish Apr 2012 #28
Quantess Apr 2012 #30