Tag Archives: NIH

Are “budget cuts” to blame for the CDC’s inept handling of Ebola?

Investors Business Daily tells the truth.


There haven’t been any real cuts to those budgets at all. At least not in the sense that any American household would recognize.

The CDC’s budget today is 25% bigger than it was in 2008 and 188% bigger than in 2000. The NIH budget has been flat for the past few years, but at a level that’s more than double what it was 14 years ago.

Plus, spending at both of these agencies has actually been higher than President Obama himself proposed (see chart). The 2014 NIH budget, in fact, is almost $1 billion bigger than Obama sought in his budget plan, released in early 2010.

True, the heads of these agencies are decrying cuts. But that’s what government officials always do, even as their budgets continue to grow. Besides, the CDC and NIH are desperate to point the finger of blame somewhere other than their own incompetence.

Even if there has been some cutting here and there at these agencies, it’s not as if there isn’t plenty of fat to trim.

If the NIH was really so concerned about developing an Ebola vaccine, for example, it could have directed more grant money to that effort, rather than wasting it researching such things as diseases among male sex workers in Peru ($400,000), why chimps throw feces ($600,000) and sexual attraction among fruit flies (nearly $1 million).

The CDC isn’t much better at husbanding its resources. A few years ago, it dumped $106 million into a swanky visitors’ center in Atlanta, even though it already had one. It bought $10 million worth of furniture for its lavish new headquarters and spent $1.7 million to advise Hollywood on medical plots.

Yes, the federal government has blown it on Ebola. But that’s not because the relevant agencies have too little money to spend. It’s the result of unfocused missions, bureaucratic bloat and a shameful lack of accountability.

I think that this Ebola crisis is an excellent reminder to us why we should not trust government to be accountable to people. We were told that the government was going to handle this, and there was nothing to worry about. But now we know that there has been mistake after mistake. We were told that Ebola could not spread, but now two nurses have it. It’s another case of the government saying one thing, but the opposite is actually true. If we’re going to have government, we should at least have competent government, and that certainly is not a Democrat government.

Former NIH director says that health care bill is an attack on patient choice

Story here at Hot Air. (Via Confederate Yankee via ECM)

Here’s the ex-NIH Director:

Dr. Bernardine Healy ran the National Institute of Health has a rather daunting resumé on health care issues.  She became the first woman to run the National Institute of Health in 1991, has served on two Presidential Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, and served as President of the Red Cross.

And here are her comments in US News:

The bill takes all sorts of choices out of patients’ and doctors’ hands. Even mammograms and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests would be similarly restricted by the government for millions of people, and they actually serve as better examples of what happens more broadly to personal medical decision making in the new system.

[…]As the pioneering prostate cancer surgeon Patrick Walsh of Johns Hopkins points out, a European randomized trial showed that PSAs saved lives. In the United States, there has been a 40 percent reduction in prostate cancer deaths since testing began in the early 1990s. Yet prostate screening arouses many of the same concerns as does breast cancer screening: too many follow-on studies, too many biopsies, and surgery on slow-growing tumors that may never have harmed the patient. The government task force claims that there’s insufficient evidence to make a recommendation for routine screening of men younger than 75 and is firmly against screening in men older than that. The American Urological Association’s position is the polar opposite: Baseline PSAs should be offered to men at age 40, and the frequency of subsequent testing should be determined by doctor and patient choice.

Ed Morrissey adds:

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests help catch prostate cancer early. The American Urological Association wants men screened with the test beginning at age 40 to catch the problem at its earliest stages.

[…]The government board wants to move away from what it sees as excessive testing, claiming that it will reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety in patients. It’s no small coincidence that it will also save the government money — and in the case of PSAs, it will save money directly if Medicare refuses to pay for PSA tests until age 75, rather than retirement age.

Right now, the US leads the world in catching, treating, and curing prostate cancer. Britain, which has a single-payer system that rations care, has one of the lowest ratings in the world. That’s not a coincidence.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. If we want to keep patient choice, then we have to pay for our own care. If we allow the government to absorb our choices in the name of “fairness,” expect the USPSTF and other government panels to ration these tests and reduce our chances of surviving these cancers.

Previously, I wrote about a Stanford University professor’s survey of health care systems around the world, in which he compared American health care to single-payer systems, favored by those on the left. In Canada, there is a 184% increase in prostate cancer mortality rates, compared with American mortality rates for prostate cancer. That’s what we’re headed for if the public option passes.

Head NIH bioethicist supports health care rationing by age and quality of life

In another article from Secondhand Smoke sent to me by ECM, Wesley J. Smith writes about Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama’s chief bioethicist at the NIH. It turns out that Emanuel has written about rationing health care based on age (at least in some cases) and quality of life.

Here are Emanuel’s own words:

Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-yearolds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not.

And he also wrote:

This civic republican or deliberative democratic conception of the good provides both procedural and substantive insights for developing a just allocation of health care resources. Procedurally, it suggests the need for public forums to deliberate about which health services should be considered basic and should be socially guaranteed. Substantively, it suggests services that promote the continuation of the polity-those that ensure healthy future generations, ensure development of practical reasoning skills, and ensure full and active participation by citizens in public deliberations-are to be socially guaranteed as basic. Conversely, services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.

I think we need to be careful about electing people who want to make all our decisions for us.