Congress finally shouted, NO!, to Trump and voted to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, even as he proposed a $7 billion cut that would have crippled medical research. What a guy. The Senate voted to increase spending on NIH to the tune of $36.1 billion.   The House approved a more modest increase, though according to the New York Times, the final number is likely to end up close to the Senate appropriation.

The move was bipartisan, and the action sent a signal that nobody on The Hill these days is afraid of Trump. There is another signal that went out. People care about their health and will remember who voted how when they go to the polls in 2018. For those in precarious health or worrying about their family’s future, we can sit back and smile, at least for the moment. We have not won the war, but we still are in the fight. Republicans view protecting health as a tool of economic development. That is just fine. A vote is a vote.

We have plenty of reasons to question the plans and priorities of this president.   They are not likely to change, though I doubt he will be foolish enough to veto this funding.   Let’s ask all Trump supporters if they would rather work toward a disease-free America or an immigrant-free country.   Let’s conquer diseases and yield the monopoly on walls to the Chinese.




11 Responses to Surprise!

  1. Kimberly Lubeck September 14, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    Unfortunately, I’m still skeptical of researchers “finding cures” but I’ll put my blinders on and hope! Great piece, Richard. Thank you for keeping us informed!!

  2. Brian L. September 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

    Just another episode in the reality show, Bozo the Clown Goes to Washington. In this ‘bull in a china shop’ presidency, we’re just going to have to be thankful when the china somehow lands on a pillow.

  3. Claudine September 18, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    Oh what an excellent post. Thank you for this (and all of them). Off to look into Occrevus Oct 6 – any advice on this quest will be much appreciated. It’s so hard to discern how much of the news about it is hype.

  4. Christopher September 19, 2017 at 5:01 am #

    Uh… where do they think that money will come from after just passing a $700 bn defense policy bill (which was a breathtaking 89-8 majority for the NDAA for 2018), and with a projected $400 bn deficit fy 2018?

    That is just a bit less than 60% of the federal budget’s discretionary spending*…


    Death and destruction seems to be eternally preferable to saving lives and healing. And I’m not sure exactly who to try to convince of what anymore.

    *based on 2018 CBO figures.

    • Jan September 21, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      Christopher. I am still appalled about reading something about a doctor saying that oh well the incidence of PML was relatively low on some drug in which that was a risk–easy for anyone to say if they’re not the one with deadly PML, is how I see it.

  5. Louisa September 19, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    Go to the wheelchair kamikaze’s blog (if that sounds odd to yo, he is a brilliant, well informed blogger – beautiful writer too) He covered Ocrevus in some detail in several recent blogs. Best of luck to you.

    • Jan September 21, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

      I agree I looked at that blog, and it is informative and interesting.

      Regarding the Ocrevus, I’m not in the mind to try that 12 years no MS meds, and a patient in Germany got PML after the first infusion; also know that person had been Tysabri for three years prior to that. I am high JCL positive and don’t do Russian roulette.

      I have spoken at length with Genentech and was very surprised to learn that they never did any JC virus testing in their clinical trials–that’s very strange to me, especially considering the high cost of $65,000 for the drug and prior issues with Tysabri.

      However you should likely also know that the idea of a motorized scooter appeals to me far more than meds. And currently working harder on the Terry Wahls dietary approach.

  6. Pat Harper September 21, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    The attempted actions on healthcare by the Republicans have absolutely nothing to do with healthcare. The motivations are two-fold.
    1. To get re-elected – Having blatantly lied to the American public for 8 years about “repeal and replace”, they rightfully feel boxed in a corner. Swore they’d do a thing without any concept of whether it was feasible. Now, they attempt to “check the box” by passing various versions of a completely unworkable, disastrous amalgamation of Rube Goldberg-like (look it up) pandering to varied special interests…within their own party. This is a complete violation of their oaths of office. It’s like hiring a contractor who advertises that they can build you a quality house only to have them create a shack and then look you in the face and say, “See, we kept our promise. We built you something.”
    2. To cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy. In order to remove taxes from those groups and still have enough money to pay for the military, congressional salaries and other government expenses, those funds which would not be collected have to be replaced. That means taking money from existing government expenses. The biggest pot of money out there, besides “essential” services” is that which is allocated to healthcare. So, the goal is to take money that you and I pay in taxes, remove it from paying for healthcare, and allow corporations and the wealthy to keep almost exactly the same amount. They plan to take money from you and I and give it to those groups, our health be damned.

    As will they be.

    You see, in our country most of us agree on most of the issues. Once we get those handled, we can argue about the remainder. Please, please be active in talking to those who voted for that guy in Washington. Discuss why it is so important that we elect non_Republican candidates to the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2018. Once balance is restored in Congress, collaboration becomes necessary. While that is absolutely not a panacea, it’s our only chance.

    Please forgive the vitriol, I remain hopeful, just not confident.

  7. Christopher September 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    Here is some important information to know…

    It’s about the Jimmo v Sebellius legal decision that has to do with Medicare. But many Medicare policies also become part of medical insurance policy in general everywhere. This decision is especially applicable to MS treatment, and more specifically in a skilled nursing facility or rehab setting–which I am personally wrestling with right now. Become familiar with the case and its implications, and make plenty of noise with doctors and your representatives. Because many still don’t understand how much work and skilled assistance is needed in MS recovery and maintenance to keep from deteriorating.

  8. Christopher September 25, 2017 at 3:53 am #

    Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy, but the price for this healthcare fight is inordinately heavy… either way.

  9. Jan October 2, 2017 at 11:07 am #

    Seems to be getting worse by the month, but the week, and by the day. However perspective is still at the forefront—just think of Las Vegas today: Truly horrible.