As appeared in the Minneapolis StarTribune, October 31, 2014
The Star Tribune reports that spending on the Minnesota campaigns for governor and the state House has topped $22 million. The Center for Public Integrity reports that roughly $998 million has been spent on television ads for state-level offices and Senate seats nationally.
To fight Ebola — which has claimed nearly 5,000 lives globally — Congress appropriated $88 million; NBC and CNN report $57.2 million raised by six charities. Ebola funds raised: $145.2 million.
Pulmonary fibrosis (known as PF or IPF) — the disease that is killing me — takes 40,000 American lives a year, the same number as breast cancer. Over the last five years, spending on PF research by the National Institutes of Health has averaged $32.6 million a year (0.11 percent of NIH’s budget). Minnesota ranks 17th in PF mortality in the United States.
We must reorder the public’s and our government’s priorities. $998 million for (senseless?) political campaign spending, $145 million to fight Ebola and less than $33 million ($150 per pulmonary fibrosis fatality annually) to find a cure for PF, which is but 1 of 7,000 so-called rare diseases in the United States. There is a crisis in funding medical research in America. We all need to speak loudly to that clear and present danger.
Paul Fogelberg, Wayzata