Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cutting funding for cancer research

The various proposals to freeze or cut the National Institutes of Health have resulted in a wall of demagoguery as high as the sky.

First, the admin is claiming that more research means more people will live longer, meaning more productivity, which is presumed to be a good thing, even though the smokin’ productivity of the American worker is allowing companies to do the same amount with fewer workers—you guessed it, persistent unemployment.

A physician wrote to the WSJ on this subject, Feb 15, 2011, saying most of the people who die from cancer are retired so productivity at work is not an issue. He also said he has an arsenal of $4 meds for many of his patients with poor lifestyles (I guess he means anti-cholesterol and anti-BP meds). And he further said immunizations have eliminated a lot of other things young people used to die of.

So is cancer research sort of … unjustifiable? Another letter writer said we were increasing life expectancy by one year at a cost of $3.2 trillion. I am not sure how that number was justified.

Yet another letter writer said the govt really wants research that lengthens life to go away because they bend the cost curve the wrong way.

They like to say things like “bend the cost curve” instead of “raising costs.”

What do you think, readers? Or is your head exploding like mine?

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