Barbara Walters Special: "A Matter of Life and Death." Interesting that the show is about health, not health insurance.
Posted Jan 22 2011 12:00am
On February 4, ABC News legend Barbara Walters is hosting a special on heart attacks and heart disease. Of course she is: She herself is a heart-surgery survivor, and obviously the experience--not to mention the reality that she is alive--made a deep impression on her. We might note that the issue for Walters, and for the vast majority of Americans, is not health insurance, but rather, health itself. That is, most Americans can pay their health insurance bills, one way or another, through insurance, their own funds, or charity. Yes, of course, healthcare is expensive, but as the legendary medical activist Mary Lasker said , "If you think research is expensive, try disease!"
So the real issue, then, is mobilizing society on behalf of research, medicine, and cures. Because then, in addition to being the personal benefits of health, society will benefit from better healthcare outcomes. Indeed, in the long run, better health is not only cheaper, but more economically constructive, because new industries are created, and people are more productive.
And we might consider this quote from Bill Clinton, cited in the ABC press release, describing his own heart surgery "I realized there was really no alternative, if I wanted to live, I had to do this." That sums it up--for him, and for all of us.