Policy-ish

Morning Rounds: Rich People Get Sick, Too

President Obama took his health plan to the people —and ABC's Dianne Sawyer— on Good Morning America this morning, insisting that he "absolutely believes" he'll be able to get a health overhaul bill out of Congress by the end of the year.

The President wouldn't say whether he now supports mandating insurance, or would sign a bill that taxes employer-provided health benefits. But did say he'd prefer to help pay for the overhaul by reducing tax deductions for the wealthiest Americans.

Meanwhile, one of the very wealthiest —Apple's CEO Steve Jobs— wants you all to know that he's feeling much better, thanks very much, and he didn't steal his new liver either, so get out there and buy another iPhone.

Ever since word broke late Friday night that Jobs had quietly received a liver transplant two months ago at a hospital in Tennessee, there's been some less quiet grumbling and speculation that he might have used his cash or cache to jump the line.

The CBS affiliate (WREG) in Memphis talked to locals outside Methodist University Hospital.

"Hmm, that's a big if," Sharon Wade of West Memphis wondered about Jobs's influence in the process. "You know, that's a big if."

"They shouldn't have transported him no where," said Dennis Duckworth whose sister is a patient at the hospital. "They should have done it right there in his hometown."

To quell rumors of favoritism, the hospital's transplant chief yesterday told reporters that Jobs got the liver because "he was the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time the donor organ became available. Mr. Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis."

So apparently does Apple. The San Jose Mercury notes that although the company's stock was down a bit on Tuesday, it sold more than 1 million of its newest version of the iPhone since device's debut Friday—"twice as many as analysts had expected."

And, perhaps hoping to lure its own far-flung celebrities in need of organs, a New Orleans hospital that's apparently in need of patients sent out its own press release yesterday pegged to Jobs' surgery. The release from Ochsner Medical Center notes that it "offers short wait times and high survival for liver transplants," and that 40 percent of its transplant patients are from out of state.

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