Skip to comments.American Cancer Society Should Stay Out of Health Care Politics
Posted on 11/10/2009 9:27:14 AM PST by jazusamo
The ACS endorsement of controversial legislation opposed by a majority of Americans is fraught with risk. It might make highly-paid ACS leaders feel important to be charmed by Barack Obama, but it is unfair to the corps of volunteers who organize and take part in fundraising drives like Relay for Life and Making Strides for Breast Cancer. No doubt, a significant portion of ACS supporters vociferously oppose Obamas health plan. That is why ACS should have stayed out of it.
The House vote was about more than health care. Both Obama and his foes have made the issue of test of his political fortunes, impacting a host of other issues. All Republicans but one voted against the measure. This partisan tinge to the debate is another reason why the ACS endorsement is inappropriate.
According to its 2007 tax return, the most recent available, ACS raised almost $400 million in that year, the vast majority of it coming from the public. The endorsement was actually made by something called the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), described as the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Dr. John R. Seffrin serves as CEO of both ACS and ACS CAN.
The November 5 press release announcing the endorsement included this disclaimer:
ACS CAN has not weighed in on the financing of any health care reform proposal except to support an increase in the federal tobacco tax as a way to help pay for reform and save lives. Therefore, ACS CAN takes no position on the revenue provisions of the House bill.
Of course, ACS CAN did take a position on the revenue provisions of the bill, because it specifically endorsed the bill. Seffrin cant have it both ways.
The revenue provisions contain one of the largest tax increases in history and are the basis of a massive redistributionist scheme that seeks policy objectives that go far beyond health care. The disclaimer is an implicit admission that ACS should not be involved in policy debates unrelated to cancer. To attempt to separate the bills massive tax increases (and gutting of Medicare) from its new mandates and expansion of coverage is a folly. You cannot have one without the other.
Seffrins endorsement made the bill sound just perfect:
This legislation represents an exceptional opportunity to advance our mission of reducing suffering and death related to cancer. We have the potential to transform our nations health care system in a fundamental way that begins the process of making adequate and affordable health care accessible to all Americans.
Seffrin made no effort to address the legitimate concerns shared by millions of Americans, including his own supporters, about access to care in a system dominated by the government.
Whether or not it is called rationing, the government will decide who gets what treatment at the same time it seeks to control costs. How can this possibly bode well for cancer patients, whose treatments can be so expensive? Will the elderly be deemed too old to receive treatment past a certain age? Will children with rare cancers be deemed too expensive to treat in favor of basic care for others?
The ACS CAN statement unintentionally illustrates why it is on such thin ice:
A recent survey by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that the American Cancer Society is the most trusted among all the interest groups involved in the health care reform debate. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said they trust the Society to recommend the right thing for the country when it comes to health care reform.
It takes years to build the kind of trust that the ACS enjoys. It takes far less time to betray that trust. People who give money for finding a cure for cancer should not end up subsidizing a political cause that they oppose.
It also takes a lot of dedicated people to build an organization like ACS. According to ACSs 2007 tax return, Seffrin made over a million in salary and benefits. Another benefit is getting to hob-nob with the President of the United States. The question is just whose interests he represents. Its a good question next time your neighbor knocks on your door asking for a few bucks to help fight cancer.
I’ll just hang up the phone an toss the mailer when these guys come asking for donations!
No doubt in my mind that the ACS is doing this because there is something in it for them.
Yup, they are off my list.
I tell them to get their donations from Obama - quit calling me.
FWIW, Cancer will never be cured. There is too much money being made on it now. The research over the years must have cost in the several Trillion range.
The American Cancer Society has been more political lobbyist than anything else for a very long time. If they actually did find a cure for cancer, the entire organization would have no reason to exist.
Yep, when I heard about this, I told my husband I wouldn’t give them another penny (and I’ve been a pretty good donor to them over the years).
All Freepers should be educating themselves about what exactly these “non-profits” are— they are political entities with HUGE investments in DC and what goes on in government. IN MANY CASES, they are even government contractors! They are NOT charities, they are NOT research organizations. They are non-profit associations which have fancy BUILDINGS, STAFF, and political ties they must constantly maintain. THey have HUGE budgets, many bigger than corporate entities of comparable size that are involved in production. This is a huge NON-Producing sector of the DC area economy and it needs a big AXE. Your tax dollars are paying for total nonsense delivered by these entities. This goes for American Medical Association, AARP, and almost any outfit with “American” in its title, unfortunately. Look, the rest of the country cannot even imagine how Washington really works, and if you all discovered it, you would be so mad, you wouldn’t be here FReeping. But make no mistake — these “non-profits” are in MANY cases, arms of political activity and money-laundering for grants and federal monies. Capital Research Center does good research on these entities.
We need a list of all the organizations that sold out to Obamacare.
This is a shame because the ACS has done so much. This should come down on the shoulders of Dr. Seffrin, they need a leader that is not political.
Good points. I was surprised to learn only about 25% of physicians belong to the AMA now, that speaks volumns.
Thanks for posting, had no idea it was that blatant.
Is there another cancer organization that isn’t as political?
subterfuge.. you are so right!!! I have been saying this for years. I even wonder about Koman Foundation!
They will never get another dime from me.
Get your donations from Zero and the insane clown posse.
I won’t be able to afford to make any anymore because I have to pay for my healthcare and several others, too.
And I say that as my wife has survived two bouts with the big C.
Didn’t know they endorsed ObamaloonCare.
Thanks for the update, my contributions to them have now ceased.
I hung up on them last night.