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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Potential Post? You Bet

I received an e-mail today from someone representing the Breast Cancer Caucus Blog (from the National Breast Cancer Coalition). They seemed to think that I would want to write a post about them and their Voter Pledge. Here's part of the e-mail:
On November 4, voters in the United States will elect a new president in what many are referring to as the most important election in decades. In anticipation of this historic decision, the National Breast Cancer Coalition is educating Americans about how their vote will impact the future of breast cancer in this country through the Breast Cancer Caucus Blog. The site offers daily updates and headlines on the health policy debate and breast cancer. It includes coverage of how breast cancer and other health issues are being covered by both presidential campaigns. The site will not endorse a candidate.

NBCC has also launched the Voter Pledge. The goal of the Voter Pledge is to collect a quarter million pledges by the election to honor each of the 250,000 women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Visitors to can sign the voter pledge on behalf of themselves or in memory of someone they have lost to the disease.

I ask that you please consider:

· Writing a post about the health policy debate in the 2008 election and incorporate a link to the Breast Cancer Caucus Blog;
· Encourage your readers to visit the site and share their own stories in the comments;
· Sign the NBCC Voter Pledge. Each signature gathered helps in the fight to eradicate breast cancer;
· Add the voter pledge to your blog with the following code: (code removed- B)
· Add the Breast Cancer Caucus Blog to your blog roll.
So... I wandered over to their blog, and what did I find? They support a national healthcare system. Of course, I want to write about that... but probably not supporting their position.

First things first, though. I think that whoever sent me the e-mail thought that because I'm a woman I support breast cancer research. Well... it's not that I don't. I support cancer research. Period. There are worse cancers in this world than breast cancer- other forms of cancer kill a higher percentage of people each and every year. If you get pancreatic cancer, you have a 90% chance of dying from it. Lung cancer kills half it's victims. Renal cancer has a 25% mortality rate. Statistically, if you are a man over 75, you have prostate cancer. Over one million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer each and every year.

I say all of this after careful thought. One of my grandmothers had breast cancer, and a friend of mine recently underwent treatment for a recurrence of cancer that began as breast cancer. It's not that I don't want it driven from the earth- I do. I don't want any more women (or men, for that matter) to get that terrible diagnosis. But, more importantly, I'd rather that the "c" word was heard with far less regularity all around.

Why does one cancer get more research money than another? I'm sure there are plenty of reasons, but I can't help but think that PR has something to do with it. Advocates for a particular research get the general public in a tizzy over this or that, and then the public screams to their elected officials ("why aren't you doooooing something???") and then that research gets funded. Not what can help the most people- who yells the loudest.

OK... enough about that... let's get to the rest of the blog. Like I said, they advocate a national healthcare system. Guess what... I don't. They don't work. Ask the Canadians and the British. There's a reason they come here for their healthcare if they can afford the trip.

Here's another funny little quirk about the blog. They say in the e-mail that they will not endorse a candidate. Imagine my shock (or lack thereof) when I skimmed their posts and discovered an obvious pro-Obama (or anti-McCain... whatever) slant. They do look objectively at each party's platform... but the end product has a noticeable bias.

Finally, we have their "voter pledge."
In the 2008 general election, I pledge to vote to eradicate breast cancer.

Before voting, I pledge to consider a candidate's position on the National Breast Cancer Coalition's legislative priorities including:

1. Guaranteed access to quality health care for all.
2. Increased federal funding for breast cancer research.
3. Developing a national strategy to study the role that the environment plays in the development of breast cancer.
4. Ensuring access to breast cancer treatment for women diagnosed through a federal screening program.
As if I could vote to eradicate breast cancer.

I refuse to sign any kind of pledge that is that myopic.Then again, I reject the idea that it's the government's responsibility to fund any research whatsoever.

Imagine how much money would be made available for individual contribution to research projects if the middle man (the government and its bureaucracy and wasteful spending) were taken out of the equation. Maybe if "we the people" instead of "we the government" had our money, we could fund what matters, get rid of the chaos, and cure some diseases. Nope. Instead, we leave it to the government what we could do ourselves.

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