April 2nd, 2008
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Let’s Keep Cancer Off The Campaign Trail

file under cancer, Fred Malek, John McCain - Fred Malek @ 5:02 pm
Comments Off on Let’s Keep Cancer Off The Campaign Trail

One of my proudest activities is my work on behalf of cancer research. My wife Marlene is President of Friends of Cancer Research, where I am a contributor, and she is on the board of, and I am a contributor to, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Leadership Council.

Finding a cure for cancer is a vitally important mission for this country. Supporting that mission should unite everyone – and should be off-limits from the political and partisan battlefield.

That’s why I was more than a bit concerned to see Elizabeth Edwards – herself a heroic cancer survivor and inspiration for us all – bring cancer into the presidential race.

Here’s what I read on Jake Tapper’s blog at ABC News:

Speaking to the Association of Health Care Journalists on Saturday, Elizabeth Edwards said that she and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have something in common in addition to being cancer survivors: “Neither one of us would be covered by his health policy.”

Edwards — the wife of former presidential candidate and Sen. John Edwards, D-NC — said that insurance companies, under McCain’s proposal, “wouldn’t have to cover preexisting conditions like melanoma and breast cancer.”

Dr. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to McCain, told the Los Angeles Times that, in the words of the Times, “Edwards’ comments were disappointing and that they revealed she did not understand the comprehensive nature of the senator’s proposal.”

Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said McCain’s policy would harness “the power of competition to produce greater coverage for Americans.”

I give Mrs. Edwards all the benefit of the doubt in the world on this one, that she really has our best interests at heart by introducing John McCain – who is Honorary Co-chairman, Advisory Board of Directors of the Arizona Cancer Research Foundation — into the political conversation.

I just hope that it doesn’t become a common occurrence on the campaign trail. The cancer conversation is best left to the experts, researchers, and doctors.

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