Former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose health problems even as a much younger person are well known, said recently he may decide to have a heart transplant.
Taxpayers, of course, will pay for it through his government health care. No problem.
There has been no outcry that we can't afford it, even though he will be on expensive anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his life.
In Arizona, though, talk of taxpayer-funded transplants has Republicans doing their usual rant against anti-government spending. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer decided to cut funding for transplants for sick poor people because she says the state can't afford it. About 100 people who were told they would get transplants had the rug pulled out from under them.
Protests mounted, and two people who had been on the list for transplants died after the funding was cut -- the result of a real death panel that was entirely of Republican making rather than merely Republican imagination.
Finally, on Friday (Jan. 21, 2011), Brewer relented and came up with the $800,000 for transplants this year.
So why is it one person deserves a heart transplant at taxpayer expense, no questions asked, and sick poor people who were eligible for care one day can be kicked off the rolls at the whim of a Republican governor, and it takes a national outcry to get her to change her mind?