Is It Wrong To Use Clinton's Heart Procedure In Healthcare Debate?

Some media members are taking heat from the Left for bringing former President Bill Clinton's recent heart procedure into the healthcare reform debate.

On Friday, the perilously liberal website Think Progress chastised "Fox & Friends" with the headline, "Fox Politicizes Clinton’s Heart Surgery, Suggests He Wouldn’t Have Received Treatment Under Health Reform."

Later that evening, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann named Michelle Malkin the Worst Person in the World for, amongst other things, comments she made at her blog about Clinton and "Demcare."

On Saturday, the left-leaning Mediaite entered the discussion with this article highly critical of Fox (video of F&F segment embedded below):

On Fox & Friends, an emergency heart procedure for an ex-president is a perfect opportunity for an ultra-partisan hypothetical situation: "If the democrats' health care reform had gone through would President Clinton have received the stents?" The two stents the former president was given on Thursday provided a jumping off point for a highly convoluted (and perhaps insensitive?) undermining of health care reform plans, the stimulus package and Obama's budget director Peter Orzag. 

Here's the segment in question:

Considering the former President had already been released from the hospital in good condition when this discussion took place -- he apparently did two miles on a treadmill before he went home -- is it out of line?

Isn't the procedure Clinton underwent, in the midst of a national debate concerning healthcare reform, a teachable moment?

Consider this August 2007 article from Britain's Daily Mail:

A treatment which has saved the lives of tens of thousands of heart patients could be banned on the Health Service because it is too expensive.

Last year, around 40,000 patients were fitted with drugcoated stents - special tubes which are inserted into arteries to prevent them from narrowing.

The system is more expensive than stents that don't include drugs, but are more effective at keeping people out of hospital.

They also avoid the need for heart bypass operations.

Now the National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence has recommended that the devices be banned on the basis of cost.

The watchdog admits that drugcoated stents are much more effective in preventing the re-narrowing of arteries than cheaper varieties. But it says they are not cost-effective and wants surgeons to use older drug-free stents instead because they are £600 cheaper.

To be sure, if the procedure had complications, and the former President was still in the hospital, this discussion might be in bad taste.

But as he is now home doing quite well, isn't it fair to address how this relates to the current debate especially if this could be a heart treatment that is deemed at some point in the future too expensive for the government to pay for? 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.