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.” LinkThis 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.