Don’t cut funding for medical research

Posted: May 11, 2012

Gov. Corbett, in his understandable zeal to cut spending, continues to make poor choices that in the long run will cost the state more than he expects to save.

The governor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year would effectively end the successful CURE program, which funds medical research at institutions across the state, and send its $60 million allocation in tobacco-settlement money to the state’s general fund to pay for long-term care.

Hello, governor, finding cures for cancer, or methods to improve treatment of other diseases, could help reduce the need for long-term care. Don’t be so shortsighted in trying to save a dollar.

For more than a decade, the CURE program has funded biomedical research at 39 institutions across Pennsylvania. That has led to research advances in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and infectious diseases, as well as improvements in public health.

While Corbett contends he only wants to shift the tobacco money to the general fund for one year, the scientists who receive CURE funds point out you can’t fund research that way. A farmer can’t irrigate his field in the spring, leave it unwatered in the summer, and then expect to harvest a crop in the fall.

Corbett’s proposal also ignores the impact his decision will have on the state’s economy if the thousands of jobs in the health, medical, and life-science sectors that depend on CURE money are lost because the money is taken away. The CURE grants leverage larger federal grants, which would also be lost.

This isn’t the first time CURE’s funding has been threatened. Former Gov. Ed Rendell had his eyes on it, too. But with tax collections coming in better than was expected, the legislature can afford to rethink Corbett’s cuts.

Let CURE keep its funds. Medical research is a good use for money collected because of the injury the tobacco industry has done to American’s health.

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