Nurses' Ad Takes Cheney To Heart, Sort Of

California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee
"If he were anyone else, he'd probably be dead by now."

So begins a health care union's newspaper advertisement which ran in Iowa Monday, pointedly referring to Vice President Dick Cheney as a beneficiary of government-sponsored health care unavailable to most other Americans.

The California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee, based in Oakland, hope the ad will bring attention to the issue of health care reform.

The ad depicts a patient, Cheney, whose history and prognosis - "four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, angioplasty, an implanted defibrillator" - might disqualify him when applying for health coverage if he did not happen to be a member of the Executive Branch or Congress.

The procedure recently used to treat Cheney's irregular heartbeat, the ad notes, might not be available to average Americans.

Such an episode, for millions of Americans without access to health care, "might be a death sentence," the ad said.

The ad appeared in the Des Moines Register and in 9 other Iowa papers.

"The point we're trying to make here is that health care is clearly the most critical domestic issue in this election campaign," Charles Idelson, the groups' communications director, told the Quad City Times. He hopes Iowa voters will press the presidential candidates on the issue.

The group, a health care union with 75,000 members in 40 states, is advocating for universal healthcare reform through a single-payer-style system. They are seeking support for legislation on both state and federal levels which promotes single-payer coverage, including the National Health Insurance Act (HR 676), which would expand Medicare.

Cheney spokesperson Megan Mitchell gave a dismissive no-comment to news of the ad. "Something this outrageous does not warrant a response," she told The Wall Street Journal.