I’ve been writing about the Trump/ Russia connection so much, that I feel like there is a lot I am not addressing that is simply awful about him as our president. In particular, his proposed budget. Any budget is going to have its issues, and there will always be certain parties that will be upset when cuts are made to their departments. In an ideal world we’d have unlimited money and resources to throw at our problems. That is not the case of course.

Say what you will about Obamacare, but the proposed cuts to the National Institute of Health (NIH) seems insane to me. The proposed cut is $32 billion dollars, that’s right billion, not million. If it was $32 million I don’t think I’d even give a shit. When it comes to government budgets a few million dollars is nothing, it could be as easy as combining a few positions together into one, or a matter of streamlining some tedious management practices.

At a billion dollars there is a lot that is going to go unfunded. I feel like medical research should be a fairly non-partisan issue. Everyone gets sick and dies: rich, poor, republican or democrat this result is inevitable. Most of us will probably suffer some sort of medical catastrophe during our lifetime. Whether it be some sort of physical damage caused by an accident, or perhaps being diagnosed with a life threatening medical condition like cancer. No one gets through life unscathed.

However, this fatalistic attitude doesn’t mean I or the rest of the world shouldn’t be in favor of advancements in medical research. This research will later provide us with the tools to improve our outcomes after a diagnosis, or bring a better quality of life to people with incurable conditions.

Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes was an early death sentence. This discovery is perhaps one of the biggest moments in medical history. Millions of people can now live into old age who otherwise would have died in early childhood

Sure the 1920s was a long time ago, but this example only highlights the benefits of medical research.

I think there definitely are some issues with the research community, and that there are things that could be done better. Some research has lots of perceived bias, or even some conflict of interest. Websites like Retraction Watch play a huge role in keeping researchers honest, and helps to weed out the bad apples. Some scientists are motivated by profit, and find ways to abuse the system to get more money for their research than what is necessary. Which is one of the concerns of the Trump administration.

There are lots of issues that need to be worked out. I just feel like such a drastic cut in funding is problematic. Mainly, because a cut sends a message that people aren’t important, only the dollars saved.

I saw this in Flint, Mich first hand. I grew up there, and although I’ve since moved away my mother and many of my friend still live there. The water there is poison, mainly because of cost cutting measures that negated the human element that is oftentimes involved. It’s easy to do the cold calculus when you aren’t face to face with human suffering.

Instead of cutting the money allocated for the NIH, it might be a better idea to create better systems and regulation that can prevent abuses from happening. That way we get better and  more research for the same amount being spent each year.

By stifling the ability for people to create better and more modern ways to treat illness the Trump administration is trying to stall human progress. American medical innovation took a huge hit under the Bush administration when research on stem cells was banned in the U.S. This could potentially be that times 100.

I for one want access to the best treatments, and not be reliant on hokey folk medicine and healing crystals.


One thought on “Budget Cut: NIH

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