Still No Funding for Kids with Cancer

by Grace-Marie Turner

As we enter Week Two of the government shutdown, President Obama and Senate majority leader Harry Reid still are refusing to budge in insisting the House pass a bill that funds the government with no strings attached, even if it means interrupting cancer care for children at the National Institutes of Health.

The House has been passing separate funding bills for parts of the government, including the NIH and national parks. President Obama and Senator Reid have rejected them.

Because of Reid’s obstinacy, the National Institutes of Health will turn away about 200 new patients each week, including children with cancer. 

He explained at a news conference last week that Democrats won’t “pick and choose” what parts of the government to fund. “What this is all about is Obamacare,” he said. “They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this Obamacare. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.”

“But if you can help one child who has cancer why wouldn’t you do it?” asked CNN’s Dana Bash.

“Why put one against the other?” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York.

“Why would we want to do that?” said Reid. “I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless.”

The shutdown, and lack of funding for the National Institutes of Health, continue. As the debt ceiling looms, we can only hope that the health of our country is more important to the president than Obamacare.