Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Republicans vs. children with cancer: The human cost of the shutdown

By Michael J.W. Stickings

It's bad enough that the EPA and other agencies are almost entirely closed, that the Social Security Administration has been stripped down to a bare minimum, that NASA has put most of its research on hold, that some programs that support those in need have been halted, that veterans may soon not get disability and pension payments, that the national parks and museums are closed, and of course that hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been furloughed, sent home without pay.

The shutdown isn't just some abstraction. It's directly impacting millions and millions of Americans, not to mention some pretty important things the government does (you know, like environmental protection).

And it's worse than you think:

At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.

That's right: children with cancer.

And all because the Republicans, controlled by the far-right extremists who make up their new core and who dominate their base, are batshit insane.

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