Medicine, Not Health Care Reform, Helps Bill Clinton Mend

If you have heart disease, you need treatment more than you need insurance. Both can be important, but treatment is more important.

James P. Pinkerton

Former President Bill Clinton, now in a New York City hospital room, under observation for chest pains, might be thinking to himself that it’s a good thing that Clintoncare didn’t pass in the early 90s. If it had, it’s a safe bet that the sort of technological innovation that is keeping him alive tonight would never have advanced as far as it has. Clintoncare, after all, was about rationing; The explicit goal of that bureaucratic program was to reduce the cost of treatment, which is to say, reduce the amount of treatment. And Clinton needs more treatment, not less. As do many of us.

Moreover, Clinton, now 63, might also be quietly hoping that Obamacare never passes, either, because, as he now realizes, he is going to be a major consumer of Serious Medicine in the years ahead.

By Serious Medicine, I mean such procedures and technologies as open heart surgery, stents, and angioplasties. Those technologies barely existed a half century ago, but they are now routine. Indeed, on “NBC Nightly News,” on Thursday, Robert Bazell said that a million Americans now have stents. That’s a million lives saved, or at least dramatically improved.

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