Letter to the Editor: Privy to ‘Miracle Cures’

Letter to the Editor: Privy to ‘Miracle Cures’

Thank you for your article about the Feb. 24 Town Hall that Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) skipped. I would like to clarify something.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) question that I asked concerned the science behind one of Ms. Comstock's claims. In one of her telephone town halls I heard her say that one of the ways we'll pay for the Republican ACA replacement will be that we'll cure diseases like cancer and diabetes so that expensive treatment becomes unnecessary.

I was astonished. How exciting!

I am trained as a registered nurse and this is what I reasoned: Because Republicans are trying to repeal the ACA this year and Ms. Comstock cited these cures as important contributors to their new plan, Republicans must have at least early indications of the dollars we'll save.

Ms. Comstock must know about multiple major scientific advances that are already successfully through clinical trials and (unless they're quick-acting cures) already being put into widespread practice across the country. These cures can't rely on common-sense advice involving diet, exercise and not smoking because Americans are notoriously resistant to behavioral change. So, in her official capacity as our Representative sitting on the US House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Ms. Comstock must be privy to what can only be called "miracle cures."

So the question I wanted to ask Ms. Comstock at the telephone town hall (she "ran out of time") and then tried to ask at the in-person town hall (that she skipped) was "What special insights does she have regarding the science behind her ACA funding claims?"

My husband is trained as a biologist and works in translational science (getting new best practices into the hands of healthcare professionals). I asked him to tell me what Ms. Comstock was referring to.

He didn't know either.

The American Cancer Society website says "In 2017, there will be an estimated 1,688,780 new cancer cases diagnosed and 600,920 cancer deaths in the US."

Alane K. Dashner, RN, MSN

Great Falls