“Former President George W. Bush, 67, underwent a procedure Tuesday morning to have a stent placed in his heart one day after a blockage was discovered in an artery, according to a statement from his office. […] President Bush’s experience is a wake-up call for all of us.”
Indeed it is. That was the response of Dr. Marc Siegel of the Fox News Medical A Team to news that Bush had emergency heart surgery to repair a life-threatening blockage.
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The problem with Siegel’s response, however, is that his idea of a wake-up call is a useless gesture for many Americans. Siegel’s advice to “see your doctor for a physical” is sound on its face. But if you are uninsured, the costs associated with an office visit and the battery of tests required to ascertain your health status are prohibitive.
Siegel noted that Bush underwent a stress test with an EKG and a CT angiogram. Having discovered a coronary artery blockage, he was immediately admitted and scheduled for surgery. Bush, of course, is a former president and member of a wealthy family. How is an average American without insurance supposed to pay for all of that? And after the emergency care, who springs for the pharmaceuticals that would be required for the rest their life?
Bush, his family, and most Americans are grateful that his medical scare was resolved and that he will resume a normal lifestyle. But insofar as his experience was a wake-up call, it was an alarm sounding to address the shameful lack of health care for so many citizens in such a rich nation. ObamaCare is a step toward providing that care, but it is people like Dr. Siegel who are throwing obstacles in the way.
Siegel frequently appears on Fox News to denounce the Affordable Care Act and the President for advocating it. He called the Supreme Court ruling upholding ObamaCare a “disappointment.” He spins phony horror stories about death panels, doctor shortages, and unfounded claims of higher premiums and fewer services. Although, how you get to fewer than zero (as was the case for 45 million pre-ObamaCare citizens), I don’t know.
In Siegel’s world everyone should consider getting regular checkups and preventative care, but it should only be available for those fortunate enough to be able to afford it. In other words. Bush’s experience is a wake-up call to financially secure folks like Bush. But it’s a snooze button for millions of others about whom Siegel doesn’t appear to give a damn.