One of the more exciting claims President Obama made in his State of the Union Address was to call for a “war on cancer.” Cancer is one of the biggest killers of Americans, shy of heart disease, and learning more about the genome and the roles telomeres play might open potential pathways to longevity treatments.
This puts Obama firmly in the “anti-cancer camp.” So can you guess who that means Fox News has to side with?
What Fox News passes off as a Medical A-Team is a group of Z-listers with a political ax to grind, and Dr. Marc Siegel is no different. The good doctor suggested on Thursday perhaps Barack Obama should call off the war on cancer, because he’s “the wrong commander-in-chief” for the job.
On the Thursday edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy questioned whether there was anything special about the President’s call to cure cancer because Republican President Richard Nixon also “waged a war” on cancer:
Some people when they saw this said, ‘Wait a minute, isn’t President Obama’s Obamacare kind of stifling innovation with all the penalties and taxes and regulations?’
Actually Doocy, the answer to that is “no,” but since you’re the stupidest man on cable TV not named “Brian Kilmeade,” I doubt you’ll understand.
Siegel agreed, however, noting that Obama was “the wrong commander-in-chief in the war on cancer.” Siegel added Nixon “put his money where his mouth is” by budgeting an extra $100 million to cure the disease, apparently oblivious to the current Republican legislature and their austerity fetish.
Besides, a recent statement from the White House confirmed Obama had budged $215 million “to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients” — twice what Nixon devoted to it.
Now, that’s probably not enough. An initiative like this, properly funded, costs billions. You know, roughly comparable to the tax breaks we give those wealth corporations who smuggle their money overseas.
The bulk of Siegel’s argument, however, was his claim Obamacare was actually hurting cancer research. Why? Because it’s apparently a bad thing more Americans are insured:
Guess what won’t cover this stuff? Obamacare. Because Obamacare is one size fits all. Obamacare is not going to say, ‘Hey, this cancer that you have that no one else has, we’re going to get insurance to cover it.’
Obamacare is narrow networks of doctors. It doesn’t include most of these major medical centers, the cancer institutes. It won’t include these treatments that are $100,000 per year. And not only that, as you just said, it stifles innovation.
This, of course, is a lie. It’s based on a distortion of an AP story that claimed four of 19 cancer centers surveyed confirmed all health insurance plans had access to all treatments:
Nothing in the AP report says that any of the cancer treatment facilities are excluded from all of the exchange plans in a given state, like the New York Post and Fox suggest. The truth is that a hospital being included in a particular plan’s network is a decision that’s made between the provider and the insurance company, and the choice to restrict access to certain providers, especially high-cost providers, is one that insurance companies have been making for decades.
Doocy didn’t think Obama was serious, and suggested the idea was little more than an “homage to Joe” instead of an “actual effort,” to which Siegel agreed.
“it’s a very nice sentiment for Joe Biden,” Siegel said, adding Obama had “glomm[ed] on” to the effort so he could take the credit, sort of like how Republicans do when there’s a decent economy. “He wants to take a bow here,” Siegel said, “but he’s not really delivering.”
Watch the video below:
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