Patrick Swayze at the 61st Academy Awards.Image via Wikipedia

In yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post, Patrick Swayze wrote a plea to Congress, asking them to:

“Stand up to cancer. Stand up for people fighting serious disease. Stand up and help restore America's economy. Stand up and help build a prosperous and healthy future for our people by giving the NIH $10 billion for research. Stand up to create jobs, fight illness and deliver hope.”

Personally, I think that would be a much better use of Government money than bailing out failed banks and financial institutions who made some bad choices by getting greedy and chasing high risk credit swaps.  Let them fail and let the stronger ones emerge from the mess.  This is not just a whimisical 'pour encorager le autres' sentiment but the basic fundamentals of capitalism.  Let the strong survive and renew growth, creating newer, better opportunities as they go.

Much of my day as a consultant is spent helping pharma companies speed up the time to market for cancer drug and finding ways to ensure patients have access to better therapies that extend their lives.  Despite the economic downtown, I've never been busier.  Out of failure comes opportunity for those who can envision it.

Sometimes though, the myopic decisions of Congress are so far removed from that reality that you wonder if they truly really understand the bigger picture of health care coverage, costs and access beyond blanket policy decisions.

Swayze has a good idea though, as more research funding is urgently needed to address the issues associated with significant baby boomers aging and becoming Medicare eligible over the next 10 years and that brings more chronic diseases such as hypertension, alzheimers, Parkinsons as well as the dreaded cancer.  The Bush administration did an ostrich and swept many of these issues under the carpet.  We can only hope that the Obama administration will have a broader eye on long term policy problems as well as the more urgent market economics.  Science, health, technology and medicine could play a large part in that regeneration.

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