Leave it to the crass Daily Beast (and Newsweek) to accuse Dick Cheney of a "dick thing" for refusing to take himself off a heart transplant list and die. Writer Kent Sepkowitz (who brags in his credit line that he writes thick academic articles that are "tough sledding") sheds science for this article, which drips with contempt. "Well, dry those tears, America—he’s back!"
"How did this happen? No, not the Florida recount, but how could someone so old and frail be a candidate for that most precious commodity, the human organ?" Sepkowitz added: "Did Dick do a dick thing and leapfrog a bunch of other worthies, people who aren’t viewed by some as war criminals and evildoers but rather are decent folk decades younger, likelier to contribute to society and to provide a better return on investment for our taxpayer health-care dollars?"
Earth to Sepkowitz: This why-didn't-you-just-die article is "doing a dick thing."
It's quite easy to guess that this isn't the way Newsweek owners -- past or present -- felt about keeping liberals like Bill Clinton alive when he had heart trouble. If a conservative had dared to suggest Western medicine should let the Adulterer-in-Chief slip away to save our "taxpayer health-care dollars," the Daily Beast's "Wingnut" basher John Avlon would have thrown his bottle of hair gel at them as a hateful extremist. Surely, ex-conservative David Frum would be recruited to denounce the conservatives as well. But with Cheney, the Darth Vader treatment is apparently mandatory.
Naturally, the liberals at News-Beast blame the anarchy of the marketplace for this situation. You can hear them mutter, "Where are you, death panels, when we need you?"
The transplant world is a Dick Cheney dream—a loosely regulated, market-driven free-for-all that follows whatever rules the local oligarchy sets forth. One hospital might set the cutoff at 20 or 50 or 100 years old, while another might figure 55 is the way to go. In a free market, people can find their own way.
Sepkowitz seems disappointed to discover that Cheney seems to have waited his turn for a heart, which just doesn't match the Evildoer/War Criminal picture he wanted to paint. But it still makes for a socialist sermon:
So as appalling as it may be, it is likely that Dick got a heart because he was a on a waiting list and his number turned up. (Maybe. We will never know if someone made a phone call for him any more than we will ever learn about his Energy Task Force). But don’t feel bad—with his latest act of narcissism, Cheney has brought into focus a critical issue the very week when the Supreme Court is ready to review the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. He has made us think about whether health care is a commodity or a human right. Heady stuff, Mr. Cheney
The problem for him and his is that he has shone the spotlight a bit too brightly on the wrong side of the debate. Old man Cheney and his million-dollar heart serve to remind us just how ugly health care can be when it is a simple commodity given to someone with friends in high places, even if he (possibly) did get the organ through routine channels. He now and forever is the poster child for why health care must be a right, not the latest luxe trinket for those few who can afford it.
Like all socialists, Sepkowitz is too emotionally invested in the dream to acknowledge the reality that in every country with a "right" to health care, people sit on waiting lists for doctor appointments (and transplants), often for months on end. Some people die in "right to health care" countries waiting for a procedure that never came. The "right" is written on paper, but complicated by budgets and bureaucracies, with all the torpor a "market-driven free-for-all" might avoid, at least for "war criminals."
Chalk this article up as just the latest example of how crass Tina Brown has reduced the Newsweek brand to stand for catty and mean-spirited tabloid piffle.
(Photo from Discovery News article "Will New Heart Make Dick Cheney Nicer?")
[Hat tip: Gary H.]