Friday, February 04, 2005

Bush Shows Wrong Priorities on Health Care

The New York Times reports on planned cuts in health care spending in George Bush's proposed budget, including cutting programs dealing with chronic diseases, obesity, and epidemics.

If the soccer-moms-turned-security-moms who voted for Bush in 2004 cannot be made to be seen the error of their ways by these cuts in health care, perhaps other planned Bush cuts will make them reconsider whether George Bush is the man to keep America safe, or is really the man who is increasing our risk. Proposed cuts also include cutting public health programs to defend against bioterrorist attacks--areas where Democrats have already felt Bush has been spending too little. The public health emergency fund which helps state and local agencies prepare for bioterror attacks will be cut 12.6 percent.

While he is unwilling to spend needed money on health care and bioterrorist defense, the influence of the religious right is seen in George Bush's funding priorities. In the State of the Union Address, Bush claimed "We're going to eliminate or vastly reduce 150 programs that aren't meeting needs, aren't meeting priorities and are not getting the job done. It's time to be wise with the people's money." Despite evidence that abstinence-based programs do not work (discussed here recently), Bush plans a $38 million increase in abstinence programs, bringing the total to $192.5 million in 2006, an increase of more than 50 percent since 2004.

In another act of pandering to the religious right, Bush also plans to eliminate a $9.9 million program to collect stem cells from blood found in the umbilical cord after childbirth. Such cells may be useful in the treatment of many diseases, and do not raise the ethical issues involved in taking stem cells from human embryos.


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