Wasteful federal spending hurts Utah cancer patients

Wasteful federal spending hurts Utah cancer patients

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – An ABC 4 News investigation is uncovering wasteful Federal Spending.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – An ABC 4 News investigation is uncovering wasteful Federal spending.

The U.S. Government gave millions of dollars to pet projects, but is now cutting money to cancer patients in Utah.

The Federal Government awarded the National Science Foundation more than $2.1 million stimulus dollars in 2009 to study “what animals really think”.

The goal of the project is to “strengthen the awareness of the evolutionary link between animals and humans” and to “stimulate interest in the welfare of animals,” according to the National Science Foundation website.

“I think the government needs to really make sure they’re really spending the money on what it's supposed to be spent on.  There’s a lot of unnecessary spending going on,” said Preeti Temple from Texas.

Federal lawmakers also voted to give $423,500 to the Department of Health and Human Services to “examine under controlled conditions the role of cognitive and affective factors and condom skills in explaining condom use problems in young, heterosexual adult men,” according a grant summary.

“Stupid waste our money. My opinion,” said Karl Molander from Murray.

The Federal Government instituted a 2 percent cut to all Medicare reimbursements on April 1, 2013, according to the CEO of Utah Hospitals Association, Rod Betit.

The Huntsman Cancer Institute’s Medical Director John Sweetenham says this cut will have “a significant impact” on cancer drugs.

Oncologists across the nation say the picture is worse than what patients at Sweetenham’s establishment will face. They say the reduced funding makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.  Patients at these clinics would need to seek treatment elsewhere; such as at hospital that might not have the capacity to accommodate them.

“As long as we spend money on nations that hate us, I think we have money for cancer patients,” said Molander.

While there is no foreseen immediate impact on cancer patients in Utah, these cuts will trickle down in time to the treatment patients receive says Sweetenham.

“We’re suffering you know and we’ve done what we could to educate ourselves and try to better our families. It just doesn’t seem like we’re the ones who are getting the benefits of what’s going on in the country,” Temple said.

Senator Orrin Hatch’s spokesman Matt Harakal says Hatch voted against stimulus spending in 2009. Hatch says entitlement programs are the biggest threat to the U.S. budget.  Harakel says Hatch is working hard to get entitlement spending under control.

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