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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Public health v. politics

Sorry for the hiatus this week. I was out of town on business with no Internet access.

I heard an interesting thing this morning on NPR on the drive into work. There was a piece about the head of the FDA and the reporter made some comment about keeping public health discussions from being bogged down by politics. Let me say that again. "...keeping public health discussions from being bogged down by politics."

As nice as this may sound, it is simply impossible. The very nature of public health involves using public funds, which are unfortunately limited. As such, there will always have to be discussions about the efficacy of various public health programs.

What this statement really says is that there are some who, ignoring the reality of limited resources, place certain agendas above debate, because, afterall, who is against public health? Or for that matter, who is against more money for schools? In fact, take your pick of any utopian government programs.

This is demogoguery at its finest. It is very easy to say that one is for the unlimited use of government force for "good goals" while refusing to discuss any tradeoffs as if we have limited resources.

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