Susan Davis reports on health care.

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Vice President Dick Cheney would “probably be dead by now” if now for his federally funded health care, according to an eye-catching ad calling for universal health care that will run Monday in ten Iowa newspapers. The ad is union-funded by the California Nurses Association and its national arm, the National Nurses Organizing Committee, which represents 75,000 nurses.

“The patient’s history and prognosis were grim: four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, angioplasty, an implanted defibrillator and now an emergency procedure to treat an irregular heartbeat,” the ad states, referencing Cheney’s lengthy medical chart. “For millions of Americans, this might be a death sentence. For the vice president, it was just another medical treatment. And it cost him very little.”

The group is calling on the presidential candidates to support a single-payer government-run health-care bill introduced in Congress by Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) that has 88 co-sponsors, including long-shot Democratic candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

The three Democratic front-runners have all proposed sweeping plans to cover all or nearly all uninsured. Republicans have offered more modest plans and none advocate a single-payer system. The nurses group opposes the plans of Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards because they argue that each plan will “continue to rely upon the wasteful inclusion of private insurance companies.” The single-payer plan would take insurance companies out of the equation altogether.

Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of CNA, refutes suggestions that the shock-value of the $55,000 ad could prompt more discussions on it rather than the underlying health care proposal. “The ad is about the substance of the debate. The ad says Democrats are bad, and Republicans are worse,” she said. “Dick Cheney is just the exemplar of what it means to have a double standard.”

The vice president’s office said the ad isn’t worth more than a no comment. “Something this outrageous does not warrant a response,” said Megan Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Cheney.

Only the elite should have healthcare, right Ms. Mitchell.

It's outrageous to think otherwise. right Ms Mitchell?

Well, screw you, Ms. Mitchel