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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Dick Cheney highlights how Obamacare kills world’s best health care system

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney has a new and fascinating book out, “Heart: An American Medical Odyssey,” co-authored with his cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

This book is a must-read for anyone facing heart disease, as well as their families and friends.

The book is the chronicle of one man’s four-decade battle against heart disease, a man who was able to take advantage of every breakthrough, and not because he was a former vice president, secretary of defense, congressman or wealthy, but because stents, left ventricular assist devices and heart transplants are widely available in America due to our extraordinarily innovative private sector in medicine.

Doctors now besieged by bureaucrats and rapidly changing laws and regulations know this era is ending unless the country makes a u-turn on Obamacare and quickly.

The interview I conducted Oct. 25 with Cheney drew enormous attention because I took the second half of it to ask him about then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vanishing act on the night of the Benghazi massacre.

I also posed some questions on President Obama‘s incoherent and increasingly and dangerously erratic conduct of American foreign policy.

Cheney’s candid responses blew many gaskets at MSNBC, especially Chris Matthews’, and you can read the entire transcript of the interview and listen to the audio at

Don’t let your politics blind you, however, to the crucial part of our chat and the central message of the book — that American medicine, combined with free enterprise, produces incredible life-saving breakthroughs.

These are the sort of breakthroughs our children and grandchildren, as well as the entire world, will benefit from if we don’t kill the system. Sadly, this is exactly what Obamacare threatens to do.

The website fiasco is just the most visible tip of the Obamacare iceberg with which our health care sector is colliding. The disastrous impact of the federal jam-downs on the future supply of doctors and scientists is a far more pressing mid-range term problem than the website snafus, as skilled young people flee a field being seized by the government and regulated into just another bureaucracy, like the Federal Housing Authority or the California Department of Transportation.

Good places to work, surely, but not where the best and brightest minds set their compasses to find.

The worst impact by far, however, will fall on the innovators, the medical device inventors and the wizards of pharmacy seeking new and ever-more potent cures for all that ails the world. Here is where the cost will be beyond calculating, though Cheney’s book gives a glimpse.

The former vice president lived long enough to get the LVAD and then receive a heart transplant because of the amazing stent, invented by one doctor and invested into reality by the man behind Fuddruckers and the Macaroni Grill, Bob Romano, who made a $250,000 bet on the idea.

It turned into a $100 million industry, but without that first visionary doctor and that first risk-taking investor, we would have no stent today.

That’s how it works. That’s what Obamacare’s medical device tax is killing, even as the overall law clobbers the supply of doctors and its website’s epic failure frustrates millions whose existing insurance goes poof on Jan. 1, 2014, despite Obama’s many promises.

So, yes, read and take seriously Cheney’s trenchant critique of the current amateur hour in the White House. But that too shall pass.

The killing off of American entrepreneurial excellence in medicine may not be so easily reclaimed as the trust of our allies once 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue turns over the keys to a new president.


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