Specialized health-care interest groups gather steam

A feature in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune highlighted a presidential forum in which the more than 2,000 participants convened by cyclist Lance Armstrong assembled to hear the presidential candidates’ views on cancer.

Although this  forum occured in August, it is yet another of the many specialized health-care interest groups, along with insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, abortion, autism, HIV and AIDS, etc.

Jonny Imerman, an Illinois resident, was in the crowd at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa cancer forum. A survivor of testicular cancer, he wants additional resources for survivorship programs.

“The forum is a great way for [cancer] survivors to work together to create a collective voice for change,” Imerman said. “We can ask the candidates direct questions like, ‘What are you going to do about cancer? How are you going to help us find a cure?’ Survivors should be the ones to push the fight for the people who are sick.”

“Cancer advocates also want the federal government to sponsor more on scientific research”, according to the Tribune article.

At the Cedar Rapids forum, candidates were asked whether they would increase spending on cancer research. Most of those attending — Democrats Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich, and Republicans Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback (since withdrawn) — said they would, and several indicated they would double the current spending to $10 billion or more.

What next?

With so many interest groups vying for attention from the candidates, at least a few are bound to attract notice. My guess is that this election, unlike the failed attempts at health-care reform in the 90s, will bear some fruit for those needing expanded and more affordable health care.

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