I hadn’t realized until recently….

I hadn’t realized until recently just how much politics has intruded into medical  funding. And I’m not writing about the controversial “Obamacare,” recently validated by the Supreme Court and set to go into full implementation in 2014.  This intrusion has its genesis through several administrations, going all the way back to the early 80s. Consider that current government bio-medical allocations by the National Institutes of Health include the following 2012 funding:

Heart disease: 2.2 billion (Deaths annually: 771,100; expenditure per patient: $27).
Diabetes: 1 billion (Deaths annually: 70,611; expenditure per person: $42).
Breast cancer: 778 million (Deaths annually: 41,049; expenditure per patient: $3,721).
Prostate cancer:  337 million  (Deaths annually: 28,517;  expenditure per patient: $177).
Obviously, men are being short-changed. But that’s not the worst of it. Both sexes suffer dismal funding when you take HIV/AIDS funding into account:
HIV/AIDS: 3.2 billion (Deaths annually: 10,295; expenditure per patient: $3,047).
I find this shocking. But there is more to this egregious funding for a disease that pales when it comes to the mortality rates for our primary illnesses.
In addition to research allocations for HIV/AIDS, 15.6 billion has been designated for housing and cash assistance to HIV/AIDS patients. All of this pales when you consider our government, beginning with the recent Bush administration, has pledged itself to spending 50 billion on global AIDS.
Since1981, we’ve spent 170 billion on AIDS and continue to spend 20 billion annually on it, not including 24 billion in last year’s budget.
Currently, there are about 81 million Americans with heart disease, according to the AHA.
The CDC’s National Vital Statistics Report says that there are 24 million of us with diabetes, not including a larger number who are pre-diabetic.
Presently, some 1,200,000 of us have cancer.
It should be obvious that our health budget is out-of-wack when it comes to AIDs and blatantly unfair to the vast majority of us threatened with diseases vastly more dangerous.  
How did it get this way? When AIDS first became prominent in the early 80s it was, indeed, a hideous disease growing exponentially. Since then, mortality rates have declined nearly 18% and new medications have made HIV manageable.
At present, government health allocations are skewered and blatantly unfair, as well as injurious to the vast majority of us.  
Can anything be done? Unlikely, for it would be deemed PC, or anti-gay.  
One way out might be doubling the allocations for the 16 diseases with higher incident rates of occurrence and mortality than AIDS such as hepatitis and Alzheimer’s. Not likely in a nation still reeling from a stagnant economy and its future enormously compromised with an ever increasing national debt.

Author: RJ

Retired English prof (Ph. D., UNC), who likes to garden, blog, pursue languages (especially Spanish) and to share in serious discussion on vital issues such as global warming, the role of government, energy alternatives, etc. Am a vegan and, yes, a tree hugger enthusiastically. If you write me, I'll answer.

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