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Archive for October, 2013

I don’t have a lot of time right now, but I just wanted to write a quick post to talk – briefly – about the apparent Republican horror at the fact that the Democrats in Congress and President Obama will not assist them in whitewashing their incredible callousness toward children with cancer.

As if they actually cared about children with cancer.

Harry Reid was caught off guard yesterday, and he has an obligation to be better prepared than he was. Because when he was asked by reporter Dana Bash – and the media is frankly complicit in this whole thing with their false equivalency and their willingness to accept the GOP narrative without questioning it – if it wouldn’t be worth restoring funding in order to help “one child with cancer,” his answer was terrible.

What he should have said is this: “Ms. Bash, we want to help all children with cancer.”

This fight started over the ACA – a law that will enable parents of children with cancer to get insurance to pay for medical treatment for their children with cancer. The Republicans are so hell-bent on defeating President Obama, that they want to ensure that those parents, of those children with cancer, can’t get that insurance. That insurance companies could deny them coverage, because, frankly, covering cancer kids is really expensive. And, it’s also a pre-existing condition. Once that child has been diagnosed with cancer, there is no ability to obtain private insurance to cover the costs of treatment. That’s one of the things that the ACA offers. Repealing the ACA means repealing that very popular provision.

In addition, in the past three years, since 2010, the Republicans have voted to gut the funding for the NIH – the National Institutes of Health – on more than one occasion, most recently in early 2013, when the sequestration itself cut funding to the NIH by 1.7 billion dollars. This decreases the amount of funding available to do clinical trials to, you guessed it, research cures for cancer. The funding that they are trying to replace – in a deeply cynical effort to pretend like they give a shit about sick children – is what is left of the funding that they decimated during the sequester. They are cavalier about the value of government until it makes them look like dicks.

In addition, let me just say this in response to the people who claim that private industry can do a better job innovating new treatments than the federal government. It is true that private industry does an excellent job innovating for treatments to things like erectile dysfunction, which is a widespread problem that affects older men, including older men with a lot of money. Cancer research for cancers found primarily in children, is not likely to result in incredibly lucrative new therapies. We are fortunate that cancer in children is rare. What this means is that there is simply not a large market for most cancer therapies that are designed to benefit children. We need the government to fund this kind of research. The private sector simply cannot make the kinds of profit from this type of research that allows them to attract investors.

So, yeah, Harry Reid, get some prep before you go on camera to take questions. And, yeah, reporters, pull your heads out of your asses. It would be great if – along side of your story about how the Republicans are pretending to care about kids with cancer – you would actually report what they are doing, instead of what they are saying.

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