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For the week of August 23 through 29, 2000

Needed: Health attack

More than their political ambitions bind together defeated Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, GOP vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan.

Each man has undergone expensive medical treatment—McCain, surgery over the weekend for removal of melanomas; Cheney, heart bypasses after three heart attacks several years ago; and Buchanan, removal of his gall bladder on Friday.

But they're bound together by another attribute—each is a man of privilege and considerable personal financial security.

So, costs were literally of no concern when they entered fine hospitals and rounded up surgical teams for treatment.

This isn't the case, however, with millions of American families who either lack personal financial resources for their medical care, or lack adequate health insurance.

How timely that leading figures in the presidential races, debates over public health care and the plight of so many Americans converge at the same time.

If Messrs. McCain, Cheney and Buchanan were to pause and consider their own comfortable circumstances, and compare that with others in need, they could transform the quibbling over national health programs into a unified attack on needs of American families.

How a nation treats its citizens' health speaks volumes about its generosity and caring instincts. The irony is that while Democrats and Republicans remain apart on health programs, they seem positively effusive in promises to not leave behind or leave out any child in education.

But what good is an improved school system if some children are too ill to attend and learn?


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