04/24/2006 11:39 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

A funny thing happened to me on the way home from the studio last week.

I ended up in the emergency room of the George Washington University Hospital. Where I spend the entire weekend, Easter weekend.

And I walked out Tuesday -- with a new pacemaker implanted in my chest.

Wow! Talk about a sudden change in your life! And, let me tell you, it was pretty scary -- and pretty lucky.

My heart was racing so fast -- 300 beats per minute -- I could easily have dropped dead from it -- if it hadn't happened to me right in front of the hospital where I could get instant, and excellent, care.

Not only that, because it was otherwise unoccupied at the moment, I was given Dick Cheney's own cardiac suite. Of course, nobody told me it was Dick Cheney's suite. But I figured it out: once I saw that all three TVs were tuned into FOX News, once I discovered 6 cans of Diet Caffeine-free Sprite in the refrigerator -- and once I found the shotgun in the closet!

Nothing like a heart scare to remind you of your own mortality -- and how important it is to focus on what really matters in life.

And nothing like your own health scare to remind you of how important it is to have good health insurance.

How can we, the richest nation on the planet, give tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy -- while 45 million Americans have no health insurance whatsoever?

If we can afford the war in Iraq...If we can afford $10 trillion in tax cuts for the rich...We can afford basic health care for all Americans.

The only reason we don't have universal health care is because -- We have our priorities ass-backwards.