McCain; Organ Transplants a Luxury?

In the last Presidential debate Republican Candidate John McCain observed that cosmetic surgery and transplants are luxury health insurance items.  He indicated that people don’t need, “Gold plated, Cadillac insurance policies that cover cosmetic surgery and transplants and all of that.”  In other words, there is no real difference between removing an unsightly wrinkle and saving a life with a heart transplant.  A You Tube clip of the comment can be found at (    


I’m sure the hundred thousand people on the organ transplant waiting list along with their families and friends are buoyed by McCain’s commitment to them.   If he really believes that a wart and a diseased kidney should be treated the same then he is totally out of touch and living in a world far different from the one I know.  


About thirteen months ago I received a new heart at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida — the entire procedure was paid for by Medicare.  Will a President McCain change that?  Will a President McCain also change Medicare so that it no longer pays for life saving anti-rejection drugs, too?


Apparently the news media missed McCain’s comment but if you review the debate section on health care plans you’ll easily find it.  I don’t know of anyone who ever died because a wrinkle was not removed but I do know that thousands of people have died waiting for organ transplants. 


McCain’s comment is a clear indication of his total disconnect with the realities of today’s society.  Organ donation/transplantation is one of the most important issues facing us today and for it to be treated in such a cavalier fashion is reprehensible.  


About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on October 19, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Bob, I completely agree with you. John McCain is completely out of touch. I was just as appalled as I listened to the debate. I cried in outrage to my husband who is also a heart transplant recipient. That is one of the many reasons why we are not voting for him tomorrow. I’m glad to see you posting again!



  2. Bob,

    Very glad to see you posting again. Hope ALL is well.

    Take care.


  3. Bob, I came across your site from a web seard I do on transplants. I am a double lung transplant receipent myself. I was surprised also at the quote on “transplants” but with some research I think I have figured out his respons. Below is a direct quote from the earlier debate, on Oct 7, 2008, where he
    refers to “hair transplants” being in the “gold plated Cadillac kinds of
    policies”. these are the same types of very expensice polices that also
    cover such things as cosmetic surgery, as he referred to last night. It
    seems in the last debate he inadvertedly left out the word “hair”. I
    believe that he in no way meant “organ transplants”. But that is just my 2
    cents. Irene

    MCCAIN: “And if you do the math, those people who have employer-based
    health benefits, if you put the tax on it and you have what’s left over and
    you add $5,000 that you’re going to get as a refundable tax credit, do the
    math, 95 percent of the American people will have increased funds to go out
    and buy the insurance of their choice and to shop around and to get — all
    of those people will be covered except for those who have these gold-plated
    Cadillac kinds of policies. You know, like hair transplants, I might need
    one of those myself. But the point is that we have got to give people choice
    in America and not mandate things on them and give them the ability. Every
    parent I know would acquire health insurance for their children if they
    could. Obviously small business people want to give their employees health
    insurance. Of course they all want to do that. We’ve got to give them the
    wherewithal to do it. We can do it by giving them, as a start, a $5,000
    refundable tax credit to go around and get the health insurance policy of
    their choice.”


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