Monday, August 26, 2013

If only there were people who needed it!

Fox News host Mike Huckabee, proposing an insane way for the Republicans to one up President Obama on Obamacare, wants the Republican party, through the United States government, to cure cancer. While that is a noble goal and really does require government involvement, Huckabee couldn’t suggest it without a dose of the stupid crazy.
The national commitment to curing diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and diabetes “has to be largely government funded because the government is the only entity that doesn’t have to have a return on investment,” he explained. “You put it in the hands of the private sector… [that] doesn’t make sense because there is no money long-term if you cure the disease.” Link
This idea, that there is no money in a cure for disease, is a long-held one among people who mistrust science and modern medicine. They believe that the medical establishment could cure everything from cancer to the common cold but don’t, because then they’d be out of a job. This idea is ridiculous for many reasons.

First, if you cured cancer, millions of people with cancer would want to buy the cure. That’s a pretty big base of customers and one without a lot of elasticity of demand, meaning you could ask whatever price you wanted. Second, curing cancer doesn’t mean people would stop getting cancer, it just means that there would be a cure once they did. At that point, see the first point above. Finally, lots of people in the medical establishment would need the cure for themselves, their family or friends (or maybe they’d just be a decent person) and future profits wouldn’t be enough to keep them from whistleblowing if a cure were found and suppressed. Who wouldn’t want to go down in history as the person who cured cancer?

In short, if you can’t make a trillion dollars curing the most dreaded, pernicious, widespread disease in human history, then you’re an idiot. Or Mike Huckabee.


Anonymous said...

Is there a point to be made here about a republican suggesting that the public sector may do more good than the private sector in something?

I know republicans who would rather see things that benefit them get cut than have the power of the federal government be expanded.

Ipecac said...

Yep. Good point.

Of course it's sad that things have gotten so bad with the Republicans that one of them advocating for government effectiveness is noteworthy. It didn't used to be this way.

SJHoneywell said...

If Republicans cured cancer, wouldn't that mean that we'd be able to take a medication that would cure us of their ideas?